After a lull since mid-July, the tropics are starting to pick up again.
The National Hurricane Center has identified three potential cyclones in the Atlantic that could soon develop into the season’s next tropical storms and hurricanes.
The timing is fitting. In an update was announced Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there are now expected to be 15 to 21 named storms, a slight increase from the pre-season estimate of 13 to 20 storms.
Government meteorologists cited low wind shear, active African monsoons and the possibility of a La Niña phenomenon — which further stifles storm-killing wind shear in the Atlantic Ocean — as reasons for the increase.
For now, the three potential cyclones in the Atlantic — two still near the African coast — pose no imminent threat to Florida. But they’re something to monitor, the Hurricane Center said Wednesday, and are a reminder that hurricane season’s peak runs from August through October.
Of the three potential cyclones, only one has a serious chance of becoming a named storm in the next five days. On Wednesday, it was still a tropical wave over Africa’s mainland. The hurricane center projects it will move off the coast on Thursday afternoon. Until then, however, it has been given a 40 percent chance of formation in the next five days and a zero percent chance in the next two.
The other potential cyclones — one an area of low pressure, the other a tropical wave — have an even lower chance of formation in the coming days. The area of low pressure has no chance of formation in the next five days, but its location near the Cabo Verde Islands means scientists will watch it closely into next week. The other tropical wave, in the Central Atlantic Ocean, has been given a 20 percent chance of formation in the next five days as it moves west toward the Lesser Antilles.
There have been no tropical systems in the Atlantic since Elsa dissipated on July 14. The next named storms of the season will be named Fred and Grace.
• • •
2021 Tampa Bay Times hurricane guide
IT’S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Seven hurricane myths that need to go away
BACK-UP YOUR DATA: Protect your data, documents and photos
BUILD YOUR HURRICANE KIT: Gear up — and mask up — before the storm hits
PROTECT YOUR PETS: Here’s how to keep your pets as safe as you
NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter