There is potential for a tropical system to become the first named hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season, and its name is Danny. This system is now being categorized as a tropical storm, and the conditions in the Atlantic are highly conducive to strengthening the system to Hurricane status.
Danny became a tropical depression on Tuesday morning, and has high potential to become a hurricane on or before Friday as it moves through atmospheric conditions favorable for the system to gain strength. This system moved westward across Africa during the first half of August, and was tracked moving westward over the south-central Atlantic Ocean at 10-15 mph this week.
Once a closed circulation near the sea surface is confirmed, that is when a tropical depression comes to fruition. When the winds surrounding the circulation reach about 39 mph, a tropical depression is then upgraded to tropical storm status. For a tropical system to then become a hurricane, it must have sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.
Tropical storm Danny is currently 1,200 miles east of the Windward and Leeward islands just north of the equator; this system follows the track of Ana, Bill, and Claudette from earlier on in the hurricane season. None of the first three storms reached hurricane status, so if Danny does indeed become a hurricane, it will be the first of the 2015 Atlantic season.
Most of the islands that are located in the Caribbean Sea are experiencing drought, and are not unhappy that they may face hazardous conditions because it will bring some much-needed rainfall. Even an unstable tropical depression or storm could bring some thunderstorms and drenching showers, but that is only if the system tracks nearby.
It is difficult to track the system beyond the next week, since the conditions could change as fast as they came in. It is predicted that Danny will take a track to the west-northwest through this weekend, and the system will be guided by an oval-shaped circulation of high pressure present over the central Atlantic Ocean.
If Danny maintains the current speed and track that it is currently on, it will most likely cross the Windward or Leeward islands during Monday. Soon after, Danny will enter into Caribbean territory.
Another possibility with this system is that it could curve to the northwest and fluctuate in strength. If it does ramp up the strength and reach hurricane status, then a quick move to the northwest would be the most palpable possibility. Danny has some obstacles that it will have to overcome to reach hurricane status, but it also has some parameters working for it.
There is dry air present just north of the storm that will wrap in and result in a fluctuation of the strength and organization of the system as a whole as we move into the weekend. If there is too much dry air present, it will choke off the storm’s moisture supply. The water along the path that the system is projected to take will continue to warm, which will lead to further strengthening of the system.
Danny is currently passing through a zone where the winds aloft are light, which also furthers the development. When the wind shear is strong it can prevent a tropical system from developing or even cause an organized system to weaken.
The wind shear over Danny’s path is expected to strengthen next week. For the most of this hurricane season, the wind shear has continuously proven to stay strong over the Caribbean Sea. The most likely time for this system to strengthen is prior to crossing into the Caribbean, since beyond this point the winds aloft will be too strong.
There are still two other areas of concern in the Atlantic Ocean, as there is a significant area of disturbed weather emerging off the coast of Africa.
The system that is near Africa right now will more than likely track into the central Atlantic, well away from land areas. It is also expected that another system may develop near Bermuda over the next several days, and more than likely this storm will form underneath another system in the upper atmosphere. Even though there is no threat to the United States at this point, it could get pretty close to the Canadian shoreline next week.