Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tropical Season Heats Up: Ana Arrives
Brother Bill Behind?

After being given up for dead, the remnants of Tropical Depression 2 organized enough this morning to become Tropical Storm Ana, the first of the 2009 Atlantic season. Meanwhile, a larger tropical wave to the southeast of Ana has become Tropical Depression 3; it is likely to develop into Tropical Storm Bill in the next day or so.

At 11 am AST/EDT, Ana's maximum winds were 40 mph, and some slow strengthening is predicted. Movement is toward the west at 16 mph, with a gradual turn to the west-northwest expected. This track could bring the storm near the Leeward Islands by Monday. Ana is a small storm, and it is moving through a hostile environment of westerly wind shear and dry air, but the forecast track takes it over increasingly warm water. Most of the intensity models indicate that it could develop into a hurricane. Given the conflicting influences, however, the intensity forecast is more uncertain than usual; the official forecast keeps it lower than the models, at tropical storm strength.

Tropical Depression 3 formed late this morning in the eastern Atlantic. Maximum winds are 35 mph and movement is westward at 17 mph from a position about 740 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. The intensity forecast calls for the depression to become a tropical storm in the next 12 hours and a hurricane within 3 to 4 days. All of the intensity models are predicting hurricane strength, with one of them forecasting a major hurricane. If it develops as expected, the storm will be named Bill.

Images (click to enlarge): Tropical Storm Ana and Tropical Depression 3 forecast tracks from National Hurricane Center

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