Tracking the Tropics–August 15, 2017

With the development of our first hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season last week (Franklin), and the emergence of a second (Gert) along with another impressive disturbance in the Eastern Atlantic, things appear to be picking up again in the Tropical Atlantic after some talk that things were not going to be as busy as indicated.

There are three disturbances other than Hurricane Gert being monitored around the Atlantic this afternoon by the National Hurricane Center. One of them has a medium chance of just 40 percent of developing over the next five days while the other two have a low chance of about 20 percent. One of the disturbances is expected to move off the African coast on Wednesday. Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening around the Atlantic Basin this afternoon.

Gulf of Mexico

First stop on Hurricaneville’s trip around the tropics this Tuesday afternoon is the Gulf of Mexico, where water temperatures are still ripe for development. Throughout the region, SSTs are running between 29 and 31 degrees Celsius, or approximately 84 to 88 degrees. There are some pockets of cooler waters around the Yucatan Peninsula and the East Coast of Mexico, where Hurricane Franklin passed through last week.

Looking at the latest visible satellite imagery from the Gulf, skies are mostly clear. The most clouds can be found along the Central Gulf coast between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. Within those clouds are some scattered showers and thunderstorms. There are no other threats around the region. No development is expected here over the next 24 hours.


Taking a look at the Caribbean, we can see some pockets of very warm water around the Southwestern tip of Florida and Southwestern Cuba. The warmest SSTs can be around Southern Florida, the Keys, Cuba and Hispaniola. The skies around the Caribbean are mostly clear with the exception of some cloudiness near the Dominican Republic. No development expected in this area over the next 24 hours.

Atlantic Ocean

Going further out into the Tropical Atlantic, we can see that the activity begins to pick up. We have above average ocean temperatures throughout the Atlantic. Now, some promising waves in the Eastern part of the region is trying to take advantage of that. The first one is located in the Central Atlantic some 1,000 miles from the Lesser Antilles. It is a rather vast area of low pressure, and is moving to the west at 15 to 20 miles per hour. Conditions will become more favorable for development as it moves the Caribbean over the next couple of days.

Then, there is another wave further east some several hundred miles to the southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. Slow development with this disturbance is expected over the next several days. While the odds for development with the broad low in the Central Atlantic is about 40 percent over five days, the chances of development with the wave in the Eastern Atlantic is only about 20 percent over the next five days. More disturbances are coming off the coast of Africa as well.


Moving into the African continent, we continue to monitor areas of thunderstorms moving to the west toward the Eastern Atlantic. Right now, there is a tropical wave poised to move off the West African coast on Wednesday. Looking further to the east, there is quite an impressive swirl of clouds over the Central portion of Africa including parts of Chad, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic. More cloudiness is seen over Central and Southern Sudan as well as Northern Ethiopia.