Hurricane center raises tropical wave’s odds of development higher

A tropical wave in Central America continues to have its odds of becoming the next tropical storm increase, according to the National Hurricane Center’s Thursday update.

As of the 2 a.m. update, the wave is near Belize, and is forecast to move across Central America and emerge over the Bay of Campeche, where it could emerge Friday as an area of low pressure. The NHC gave the system a 20% chance of formation in the next two days and a 30% chance in the next five. If it does develop, it would take on the name Tropical Storm Danielle.

Gradual development of this system is possible as it moves northwestward over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico through the weekend.

However, it could be met with trouble in the Bay of Campeche as dry dust from the Saharan Air Layer is forecast to appear in the same location Friday, according to the National Weather Service tracker. The SAL is a migration of African dust, which pushes west and into the Caribbean, drying out atmospheric conditions of the Atlantic basin and making it too dry for hurricanes to form.

Despite multiple forecasts of above-average storm production, the season has been off to a slow start given the historic record of Atlantic storms, which typically sees four named storms by Aug. 15, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earlier this month, the NOAA reaffirmed its preseason prediction of an above-average hurricane season with a range of 14 to 21 named storms. The NOAA expects most storms to emerge during the season’s peak, occurring between mid-August and mid-October.

So far, the 2022 season has seen three named storms: Alex, Bonnie and Colin — the latter of which fizzled at the beginning of July. After a month of tropical silence, the NHC has been jumping around the last 10 days, tracking short-lived systems with the potential to form into depressions or tropical storms.

Over the weekend, the NHC was tracking a broad trough of low pressure in the mid-Atlantic, but its chances of formation dropped to 0% by Monday morning. Before that, the NHC had eyes on a system in the Gulf of Mexico, but it failed to form into more than a spate of showers and thunderstorms that drenched southeastern Texas. And before that, a system off the African coast was demanding attention before environmental factors snuffed its chances.

Hurricane season ends on Nov. 30.