Igor may be a miss; more 'cane season to come
updated at 11:00 a.m.
As the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine bore down on my home turf in eastern Kansas yesterday, I figured it was time to look at what the tropics are concocting next. The latest entry to the 2010 hurricane season is Igor, which became the season's ninth named storm early Wednesday as the system reached tropical storm status (maximum sustained winds ranging from 39-73 mph) just south of the Cape Verde Islands -- a collection of islands located about 400 miles west of the African Coast.
Igor briefly weakened to a tropical depression before restrengthening this morning. The tropical storm is located about 465 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph as of 11 a.m. Friday, but is expected to intensify to hurricane status in a few days as the system moves westward across the tropical Atlantic. Computer models currently suggest that Igor has a pretty good chance to become yet another system that eventually curves northward over the Atlantic and misses the United States.
Keep reading for more on what's next for the 2010 hurricane season...
Though currently steered generally westward by the clockwise circulation around a strong high-pressure system to its north, Igor is expected to turn northward once it passes the high and as a dip in the jet stream moving over and off the East Coast early next week aids south-to-north flow in the atmosphere hundreds of miles east of North America.
If Igor indeed curves north in time to avoid the U.S. Coast, it would be the fifth such case this year, with Colin, Danielle, Earl (landfall in the Canada Maritimes) and Fiona the other four. As we look at the tracks of the tropical cyclones we've seen so far in 2010 (see image below), it's tempting to believe that the East Coast might be immune to strikes from Cape Verde storms (the ones that originate in the far eastern Atlantic) this season in particular.
In reality, though, it's always a challenge for Cape Verde storms to survive a cross-Atlantic trek, let alone maintain enough of a westward course to reach the U.S., given the conditions that so often occupy the tropical Atlantic. It's common to see huge swirls of dry, desert-like air, and strong winds from the west associated with big upper-level areas of low pressure, obstruct the path of tropical cyclones moving across the Atlantic. So the fact that the 2010 Cape Verde storms have yet to make landfall in the U.S. is really not surprising.
There are other locations, besides the far eastern Atlantic, that we have to watch closely in the coming days and weeks for development. Dissipating cold fronts that penetrate southward to the Gulf of Mexico, and tropical waves off of Africa that migrate west to the Caribbean without evolving into a cyclone, can be prime candidates for growth. In fact, the National Hurricane Center is now closely monitoring a disturbance near the Windward Islands of the Caribbean, just north of South America, for possible further development.
Many of the global weather models, as well as some of the regional hurricane models, are suggesting this storm has potential as it moves generally toward the west-northwest during the next several days.
As we continue to look ahead, it's important to remember that the 2010 hurricane season has a long way to go, and that not every storm is guaranteed to be as forgiving as Hurricane Earl was for the most part. We are only now at the typical peak of hurricane season, with many weeks to go before coastal populations and forecasters can rest easy.
| September 10, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories: Tropical Weather
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