Tracking the Tropics: Hurricane Sam is forecast to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane by Saturday

Tracking the Tropics

Sam is now the 7th hurricane of the season. It is getting better organized and stronger out in the central Atlantic. It is in a favorable area for rapid development, and it is expected to become a major hurricane (Cat. 3-4) tomorrow. Forecast models show the storm moving just north of the northern Windward Islands. After that time, the GFS has it staying farther east, but the Euro moves it more to the west – closer to the U.S. This will be something to watch. It is not expected to get into the Gulf of Mexico.

A tropical wave is expected to move off the coast of Africa by Sunday night. Once over water, conditions are expected to be favorable for slow development, and a tropical depression could form by the middle of next week in the central Atlantic. NHC is giving this system a medium chance to develop.

A large area of thunderstorms associated with a trough of low pressure is a couple hundred miles east of Bermuda. Some tropical or subtropical development is possible on Saturday as it moves NNW. After Saturday, wind shear increases, and it is not expected to develop. NHC is giving this system a low chance to develop.

Lastly, a non-tropical low, the remnants of Odette, are move than 600 miles WNW of the Azores Islands. There is a brief window of opportunity for it to become a subtropical or tropical system while it moves to the SSE over warmer waters. It will battle strong wind shear later today, and once that happens the chance for development is unlikely. NHC is giving this system a medium chance to develop.

Elsewhere…the rest of the tropics are quiet.

Today is also the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Rita making landfall on SW Louisiana as a Category 3 with 115 mph winds. Rita was a Category 5 at one point in the Gulf of Mexico. Rita hit Louisiana just 3 weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area.

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