A rare, century-old tropical storm could form in the Atlantic
- The fifth named storm of the season will develop in eastern Barbados
- Elsa hit the Caribbean this weekend, maybe like a hurricane
- Solid surf on weekends on some islands; swell hits the US east coast early next week
So much for a slow start to hurricane season, eh? Granted, a handful of tropical storms did emerge during this opening month of the season, but they were all short-lived, lasting for hours, not days. And because they formed so close to the east coast of the United States, they were able to combine with other systems – fronts, ridges – to provide localized images of much loved and fun summer surfing.
But this next tropical wave that we’re monitoring for development, # 97L, is a very different system. Unlike Ana, Bill, Cristobal and Danny, this one is a few thousand (rather than a few hundred) miles from the east coast. And this one has a legitimate chance of turning into something substantial: Hurricane Elsa.
Caribbean Forecast Analysis: Puerto Rico | Barbados
The last satellite loop of the tropical Atlantic. Do you see the clouds in the lower and middle half of the frame? It’s about to become Elsa.
In the past 170 years, only two tropical storms have formed west of the Caribbean islands in June, making Elsa a truly unique event if it does form before midnight. This is what our own Mr. Hurricane, Chief forecaster Mike Watson, has to say about what is happening over there in the Atlantic:
“The disturbance that we are observing is halfway between Africa and the Caribbean as early as Wednesday morning and, according to the National Hurricane Center, there is a good chance of tropical development before the end of the weekend. The system is expansive, covering a good chunk of open water real estate while taking a west-northwest expressway that will bring it near or over or near Barbados on Friday, potentially as a hurricane.
The winds associated with # 97L will help improve the commercial Atlantic swell regardless of tropical status, but we really want to monitor its development over the next few days which is vital for any potential surfing on the east coast. Bottom line: The stronger this storm gets before it moves into the Caribbean Sea, the more ESE swell we’ll see on the east coast next week. Current satellite observations show that this vast system is trying to organize itself in an area between two areas of dry Saharan dust favorable to development.
East Coast Forecast Analysis: Florida | South East | External banks | New Jersey | new York
Puerto Rico’s south coast is on the lookout for tropical surf (and weather) this weekend.
Barbados and the Windward Islands see aerial surfing and overland winds strengthening by the end of the week and through the weekend. Depending on the exact trajectory of the system, some islands should see windows of fair or even good conditions on the way. Once he is in the Caribbean Sea, there is great confidence that he will head to Hispaniola over the weekend, opening up more possibilities for surfing in the Caribbean Sea until early next week. From there, much less is certain: the system could end like an open wave; or it could continue like Hurricane Elsa, turning anywhere from the Gulf of Mexico to the Bahamas in less than a week. “
Stay tuned to your local forecast to see how this tropical wave will affect your area over the next week. And be sure to watch the Atlantic Tropical Video Outlook Thursday and Sunday afternoon for all the latest developments.