Caribbean Bears Watching

One of the preferred regions for tropical cyclone genesis late in the hurricane season is the northwestern Caribbean Sea. Development typically occurs on the trailing end of a frontal system that has stalled in this region. Currently, there is a frontal cloud band extending through Florida, western Cuba, and into the northwestern Caribbean.

There is also a weak low-level cyclonic circulation just northeast of Puerto Rico that will be steered westward to west-southwestward and will likely merge with the frontal trough over the next few days. It should be noted that several of the global models suggest an area of low pressure developing over the northwestern Caribbean Sea by early next week.

The computer projections currently hinting at development come from modeling centers in the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, U.S. Navy, U.S. National Weather Service, and Canada (although it should be noted that the Canadian model frequently over-forecasts tropical cyclone development).

No one can say with certainty whether a tropical cyclone will develop in this region, and even if it does, it is way too early to talk about a future path and intensity. However, at this time the northwestern Caribbean Sea is the area to watch.

So far this year, we have not had a named tropical cyclone in the Atlantic during the month of October. The last season without a named storm after September was 1993. I would be very surprised if something doesn’t develop before this season officially ends.


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