The only named tropical system so far this season has been Arthur which formed off the southeast US coastline earlier this month and reached hurricane status (category 2). There is now a pretty healthy-looking tropical wave way out in the Atlantic Ocean and this could eventually become the first “Atlantic-type” tropical storm of the season, but it does have some dry air to penetrate in the near term.
The latest Saharan air layer tracking product (courtesy University of Wisconsin – CIMSS/NOAA-HRD) shows a large expanse of dry air off the west coast of Africa (“oranges and yellows”) that extends well out into the Atlantic Ocean and “in front” of the generally westward-moving new tropical disturbance. This tropical system will encounter some of this African dry air mass in the near term, but it also will be moving into a region with favorable sea surface temperatures of greater 80 degrees. Should the tropical wave survive its encounter with the dry air and develop into a named tropical storm, it would become known as Bertha. We’ll monitor its progress over the next few days here at thesiweather.com.