So far this year I have avoided writing much about the tropics because the tropics really haven't been much to write about. Right on queue, August 1st gets here and we're on. 99L.Invest was a tiny little tropical wave that had to battle dry air and strong upper level wind shear all the way across the Atlantic. Most models did not develop this system at all and some are still having difficulty with it. Well here we are this morning and the conditions ahead of Tropical Storm Chris are improving as is the structure of the storm itself. Here are a few things we know. Chris is a very small storm in terms of the size of wind field. Small storms can strengthen fast or fall apart fast. Chris is currently squeezed between two Upper Level Lows (ULLs). The ULLs can either hurt or help Chris. If Chris gets too close to the ULL's then the wind shear at the upper levels will blow the tops off the storms and take Chris apart quickly. If Chris stays nicely between them, the ULL's will help the outflow of the storm allowing Chris to breath and grow. The water ahead of Chris is warm and the forecast for wind shear is in favor of future development with shear of 5-10 knots. At one time there was another small storm headed towards southern Florida that was squeezed between two ULL's. That storm then hit the gulf stream off the coast of Florida and exploded into history. 1992. Keep an eye on Chris, this system has potential and needs to be watched closely by South Florida. If it shoots the gap of the Florida Straits into the Gulf of Mexico, anything could happen.
The African Wave Train is active and most models have another wave developing out in the Atlantic this weekend, so it looks as though the next 12-16 weeks will be a busy time. Check back here for the latest. If you are in the hurricane zone, it is time to double check your supplies, emergency plans and prepare accordingly.