We are at the peak of the tropical cyclone season, and the tropics are responding with activity in the Atlantic and Pacific, east and west. From Kalmaegi to Odile, tropical storms are looming. Let’s check it all out.
Hurricane Odile in the Eastern Pacific: A Close Call For Mexico
With the warm pool of water south of Mexico spewing out storm after storm, one had to eventually threaten land. Tropical Storm Odile will become a hurricane tomorrow and probably come close enough to mainland Mexico to bring tropical-storm-force winds to part of the coastline.
Odile’s winds should hit between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta today and tomorrow, and the southern tip of Baja California in a few days.
The Tropical Storm Breeding Ground In The Eastern Pacific
The water in the Pacific Ocean south of Mexico is normally very warm. This year it is warmer than normal. In addition, the winds are light at all levels of the atmosphere. These are the ideal conditions for tropical storm formation, and Odile is the fifteenth named storm of the eastern Pacific season, which began on May 15.
Most of the storms have been largely uneventful, even the two which reached category five strength with winds over 160 miles per hour, as they drifted harmlessly out to sea and dissipated over colder water.
The lone exception was Tropical Storm Boris,which didn’t have much wind, but dumped over a foot of rain on Tonala, near Guadalajara.
It must be somewhat disconcerting for inhabitants of the Mexican coast to watch storm after storm pass a few hundred miles out to sea. Summer conditions favor this motion, parallel to the coast but eventually northwest away from land. In the early and later parts of the season, when the jet stream encroaches on the tropics, storms have a better chance to turn inland. However, they usually do this with little time to develop. That is what happened to Boris.
The dangerous scenario is for weak jet stream winds to steer a hurricane closer to the coast, far enough out to sea to maintain strength, but close enough to produce hurricane-force winds. It appeared, a few days ago, that what is now Tropical Storm Odile might do that, but now Odile is following the course of its uneventful predecessors.
The Most Likely Path For Odile
Odile is close enough to the coast for tropical storm watches to be in effect from Manzanillo to Cabo Corrientes. As Odile moves northwest and strengthens into a hurricane, watches and warnings will probably be needed for the southern part of Baja California. But the strongest winds will stay out to sea.
Eventually Odile will take a route similar to that of Norbert, and moisture could find its way into the American southwest and produce another round of flooding in Arizona. It is even possible that California could receive beneficial rain.
Tropical Storm Kalmaegi in the Western Pacific: Another Typhoon For The Philippines
But now comes Tropical Storm Kalmaegi, which will become a typhoon before it reaches the northern Philippine Island of Kalusunan. Kalmaegi’s winds will only reach minimum typhoon strength (75 miles per hour) as the storm crosses Kalusunan and moves into the China sea, but it could strengthen a little before reaching southern China.
Tropical Storm Edouard in the Eastern Atlantic: Conditions Becoming More Favorable For Tropical Development
The hostile conditions of vertical wind shear (change of wind with height) and dry air from Africa have eased, and there is a new Tropical Storm.
Edouard is approaching the midpoint between Africa and North America, but will be steered northwest and then north into the open Atlantic.
Edouard is forecast to become the fourth hurricane of the season by early next week, but will be well east of Bermuda and no threat to land.
Western Atlantic: A Disturbance That Could Be Trouble
A low pressure area about 70 miles east of the central Florida coast is moving southwestward. Interaction with land and a hostile upper air environment will prevent any development for the next day or two.
However, should the system hold together and reach the Gulf of Mexico, conditions there are favorable for development. Any storm in the Gulf of Mexico is dangerous: the water is very warm, so development is likely; and it cannot escape the Gulf without making landfall.
More Hurricanes And Typhoons To Come?
You can pretty much bet that the tropical cyclone season is not over in either the Atlantic or Pacific.
Conditions on both sides of both oceans are favorable for more storms to develop. We’re only half way through the season.