Talking the Tropics With Mike: Series of cold fronts over Atlantic

Late autumn pattern taking hold

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For the first time since at least 1950, the globe - not just the Atlantic Basin! - had no ‘major’ - Cat. 3 or stronger - hurricanes or typhoons from Sept. 26 through Nov. 10th (Phil Klotzbach).

The last name on this season’s Atlantic list has now been used. A combination of a bunch of short term storms this year (8 were “alive” for less than 48 hours) + better detection methods (satellite & radar) + less conventional (quick to pull the trigger, in other words) manner in which NHC now names storms has led to the 3rd year (2005 & 2020) in which all names have been used up. Wanda was a “fish storm” in the truest sense ..... as in “A Fish Called Wanda” (??). The last advisory was issued last Sunday.

A series of cold fronts are moving east across the Atlantic. Each one is helping produce bands of heavy showers & storms but tropical development is not expected.

It seems an autumn upper level weather pattern is becoming well established across the N. Hemisphere & Atlantic Basin. The result may be that the Atlantic tropical season is essentially over. If there is any new tropical development, systems will likely be more out to sea over the broad Atlantic with a tendency to move east & northeast away from the U.S. One area to watch will be the Caribbean but even there, any developing system will most likely move east &/or northeast - & nothing indicated at the moment.


Saharan dust. 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 the plume then try to develop if everything else happens to be favorable. In my personal opinion, way too much is made about the presence of Saharan dust & how it relates to tropical cyclones.

2021 names..... “Wanda” was the last 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]). “Adria” is next. Last year - 2020 - had a record 30 named storms. The WMO decided - beginning this year - 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 & remains pretty impressive late in the season from the Central/NW Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico:

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:

Caribbean:

GFS wave forecast at 48 & 72 hours (2 & 3 days):

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

The East Pacific:

West Pacific IR satellite:

Global tropical activity: