Following a stretch of less tropical activity, a new tropical disturbance has drawn some attention to the Atlantic Ocean Basin.
Dry air and strong winds over the basin for last several weeks have prevented any organized tropical activity. The last tropical system to form was Tropical Storm Fay, which made landfall earlier this month in New Jersey, on July 10.
On Sunday afternoon, a tropical wave drew attention over Hispaniola, the southeastern Bahamas and the waters of the southwestern Atlantic Ocean.
"A tropical wave is merely a disturbance or ripple in the atmosphere that moves westward from Africa and contains showers and thunderstorms along with a shift in the wind direction," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
This image, captured on Monday, July 20, 2020, shows a tropical wave with showers and thunderstorms centered near western Cuba. Another weak disturbance was located near the upper Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico. (NOAA/GOES-East)
"There can be as many as half a dozen or so tropical waves that emerge from the west coast of Africa every week to 10 days," he added.
Currently, the disturbance is creating disorganized showers, but as it draws into the Gulf conditions will become more conducive to tropical development.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty, the tropical wave will move part of the northern Caribbean and waters around Cuba through Tuesday.
The wave is then expected to reach the central Gulf on Wednesday and the northwestern Gulf by Thursday.
The wave is forecast to track very close to the mountainous terrain of Cuba, and as such is not expected to gain wind strength during that time. Instead, the impact may be felt in terms of rainfall.
The presence of the tropical wave will enhance the rainfall in the region, bringing more widespread rain and thunderstorms with some downpours.
Once the wave moves into the Gulf of Mexico late Tuesday or Wednesday, the environment will have more favorable conditions for tropical development. Two of the important ingredients for tropical development are warm, open waters and minimal wind shear, both of which will be present in the Gulf this week.
"Due to the brisk, westward movement of this feature through the warm waters of the Gulf, it will have a limited amount of time to develop," Douty explained.
At this time, AccuWeather meteorologists believe the system will not have time to ramp up to a hurricane and the chance of a tropical storm developing from it is 10-20% and for a tropical depression to evolve from it is between 20-30%. The best chance for development is generally from near the Florida Straits to the upper Gulf of Mexico coast later this week.
"Even if it doesn't become a depression, the increase in tropical moisture it will bring into the Gulf and eventually the western Gulf Coast will result in an increase in downpours regardless at the end of the week," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda said.
As the feature continues to move along, it will result in an uptick in showers and thunderstorms over the northwestern part of the Gulf coast late this week. Some of the rain could be rather heavy and potentially may lead urban flooding problems.
There does not have to be an organized tropical system to cause rough surf and raise the risk of waterspouts and a couple of isolated tornadoes in coastal Texas and Louisiana in this case.
The Gulf of Mexico is not the only body of water that could produce an organized tropical feature this week.
There is another tropical wave over the middle of the Atlantic this is moving westward and has a low chance of development this week.
In the Eastern Pacific Ocean, two tropical depressions formed on Monday morning, the second of which became a tropical storm on Monday evening, and may become a hurricane.
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