First Alert Weather

Talking the Tropics With Mike: Low pressure to Carolina’s by weekend... Nigel’s large Atlantic eye

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REMEMBER WHEN A TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE IS APPROACHING: Taping windows is *not* recommended & will not keep glass from breaking. Instead close curtains & blinds.

Realize the forecast cone (”cone of uncertainty”) is the average forecast error over a given time - out to 5 days - & *does not* indicate the width of the storm &/or where damage that might occur.

*** LOCAL (Jacksonville/NE Fl./SE Ga.) IMPACTS FROM THE TROPICS: Developing low pressure Thu. into Fri. east of the coast of Florida will cause gusty winds, coastal heavy rain, rough seas & surf along with at a very high rip current risk will impact coastal areas through Friday. More significant impacts for the Carolina’s.

The Atlantic Basin Overview:

** T.D. #15 developed into “Nigel” over the Central Atlantic....

** A trailing strong tropical wave at a lower latitude closer to Africa has the potential for eventual development...

** Low pressure to develop east of Florida...

(1) Tropical depression #15 formed over the Central Atlantic Friday & was upgraded to “Nigel” Sat. evening & became a hurricane - the 6th of the Atlantic season - early Mon. Nigel but will remain well east of the U.S. coast, even east of Bermuda. Nigel has a large eye - some 80 miles across - & has been battling some nearby dry air & shear & will be moving over cooler water the next few days. Steering currents remain locked in with the Bermuda high displaced well to the northeast followed by a strong upper level trough that will move across the N. Atlantic helping to turn Nigel sharply to the northeast while accelerating & becoming post-tropical by at least the weekend.

Nigel is the 14th named storm of the Atlantic season.... the 10th named storm on avg. develops on Sept. 22nd & 14 named storms is the avg. of a whole season (June 1 - Nov. 30).

(2) A strong tropical wave near the coast of Africa may slowly develop while moving west.

(5) We’ll also need to watch for possible tropical or subtropical development east of Florida the next couple of days. A surface trough of low pressure is developing near & just offshore of the east coast of Florida. Forecast models are unanimous in the development of the trough & have come into decent agreement on low pressure developing east of Florida, a little more offshore (to the east) than in previous model output. Movement will generally be to the north/northwest with a move at least very near the N. Carolina coast over the weekend if not inland a bit. The low will be over or near the very warm Gulf stream for a time & may very well become tropical before nearing the coast.

This is a situation to watch as “in-close” tropical development does fit the pattern with a rather strong high to the north. If the low can stay far enough offshore long enough then a tropical or subtropical system could form.

Regardless of development... nor’easter conditions will begin to unfold by Thu./Fri. for coastal NE Fl. & SE Ga. with gusty onshore (out of the east/northeast) flow/winds along with some primarily coastal heavy rain, rough seas & surf & dangerous rip currents. It looks like conditions will slowly improve over the weekend & rain will diminish by Friday as drier gets pulled southward into the area. Rainfall amounts should average a half inch to an inch near the coast... trailing off significantly more inland to the west of I-95.

Anyone traveling to - or living in - the Carolina’s should stay up to date on the latest forecasts.

Rainfall forecasts for the next 7 days from the GFS & European model respectively:


Check out the upper oceanic heat content (UOHC) [tropical cyclone heat potential/TCHP] across the SW Atlantic, Gulf & Caribbean. The warmth is very deep. But keep in mind warm ocean temps. alone doesn’t necessarily equate to a “big” hurricane season (need other ingredients & factors to be favorable too) but it’s obvious there is a lot of very warm water at great depths over the Caribbean & Gulf of Mexico stretching eastward all the way into the Central Atlantic:

Water vapor loop (dark blue/yellow is dry mid & upper level air):

July tropical cyclone origins:

Averages below based on climatology for the Atlantic Basin for August:

Wind shear:

Saharan dust spreads west each year from Africa by the prevailing winds (from east to west over the Atlantic). Dry air - yellow/orange/red/pink. Widespread dust is indicative of dry air that can impede the development of tropical cyclones. However, sometimes “wanna’ be” waves will just wait until they get to the other side of - or away from - the plume then try to develop if other conditions are favorable. In my personal opinion, way too much is made about the presence of Saharan dust & how it relates to tropical cyclones. In any case, the peak of Saharan dust typically is in June & July.

2023 names..... “Ophelia” is the next name on the Atlantic list (names are picked at random by the World Meteorological Organization... repeat every 6 years). Historic storms are retired [Florence & Michael in ’18... Dorian in ’19 & Laura, Eta & Iota in ‘20, Ida in ‘21 & Fiona & Ian in ‘22]). In fact, this year’s list of names is rather infamous with “Katrina”, “Rita” & “Wilma” retired from the ‘05 list & “Harvey”, “Irma”,“Maria” & “Nate” from the ‘17 list. The WMO decided - beginning in 2021 - that the Greek alphabet will be no longer used & instead there will be a supplemental list of names if the first list is exhausted (has only happened three times - 2005, 2020 & 2021). The naming of tropical cyclones began on a consistent basis in 1953. More on the history of naming tropical cyclones * here *.

East Atlantic:

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear:

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):

Deep oceanic heat content over the Gulf, Caribbean & deep tropical Atlantic. The brighter colors are expanding dramatically as we near the peak of the hurricane season.:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:


Atlantic Basin wave period forecast for 24, 48, 72 & 96 hours respectively:

East/Central Pacific:

Newly formed “Kenneth” over the E. Pacific will soon weaken as the storm gains latitude & moves over cooler water & encounters increasing shear. No threat to any land areas:

West Pacific:

Global tropical activity:

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