The tropical wave in Central America is showing better signs of organizing, and as a result, the National Hurricane Center increased its odds Friday of becoming the fourth named storm of the year sometime next week while in the Gulf of Mexico.
As of the 2 a.m. update, the wave is over northern Guatemala and southeastern Mexico. Meteorologists are forecasting the wave to emerge over the Bay of Campeche Friday as an area of low pressure. The NHC gave the system a 40% chance of formation in the next two to five days. If it does, it will take on the name Tropical Storm Danielle.
“By Saturday night, the system is expected to move inland over northeastern Mexico,” said Jack Beven, an NHC hurricane specialist.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system on Friday if the system continues to develop.
Despite multiple forecasts of above-average storm production, the season has been off to a slow start given the historic record of Atlantic storms, which typically sees four named storms by Aug. 15, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earlier this month, the NOAA reaffirmed its preseason prediction of an above-average hurricane season with a range of 14 to 21 named storms. The NOAA expects most storms to emerge during the season’s peak, occurring between mid-August and mid-October.
For the last month, storms have been having a hard time organizing in the Atlantic basin due to the dry conditions created by the Saharan Air Layer, otherwise known as the SAL, which is a migration of African dust that pushes west and into the Caribbean, drying out atmospheric conditions and making it too dry for hurricanes to form.
So far, the 2022 season has seen three named storms: Alex, Bonnie and Colin — the latter of which fizzled at the beginning of July. After a month of tropical silence, the NHC has been jumping around the last 10 days, tracking short-lived systems with the potential to form into depressions or tropical storms.
Over the weekend, the NHC was tracking a broad trough of low pressure in the mid-Atlantic, but its chances of formation dropped to 0% by Monday morning. Before that, the NHC had eyes on a system in the Gulf of Mexico, but it failed to form into more than a spate of showers and thunderstorms that drenched southeastern Texas. And before that, a system off the African coast was demanding attention before environmental factors snuffed its chances.
Hurricane season ends on Nov. 30.