As the Atlantic hurricane season moves in to peak season 2020 continues to break records. Catch up on the season with our previous articles: 2020 hurricane season arrives early and could be record breaking, Atlantic hurricane season setting new records in new ways and Atlantic hurricane season hots up.
We currently have Tropical Storms Laura and Marco, located over the north central Gulf of Mexico and southern Cuban coast respectively as indicated in this NOAA image for 1051Z today. These mark the earliest “L” and “M” storms on record. Marco formed in the NW Caribbean to become the earliest 13th Atlantic named storm formation on record. The prior record was a tie on 2nd September between Maria (2005) and Lee (2011)
There has been a high level of uncertainty over the movement and intensity of both of these systems.
Tropical Storm Marco (see NHS graphic below) will gradually swing westnorthwest and slow over the next 24-26 hours. It is a small tropical cyclone where strong southwesterly shear has restricted its size and intensity. The system might still reach hurricane force for a very brief period before it reaches the Gulf Coast, but overall the system is expected to maintain 60knot winds for the next 24 hours and then weaken rapidly by 36 hours.
Meanwhile Tropical Storm Laura lies over the warm waters just off the south coast of Cuba with 55knot winds. The system is expected to move westnorthwest at 18knots dominated by the Bermuda-Azores ridge which is expected to build westwards in to the central Gulf of Mexico over the next few days. As a result Laura is expected to continue WNW’ward paralleling the south coast of Cuba today, emerging into the southern Gulf of Mexico by tomorrow, and is expected to strengthen once emerging over the very warm waters of the Gulf. There still remains some uncertainty regarding the long range track of Laura due to the erosion of the western edge of the ridge and increasing shear once over the Gulf. This can be seen by the large diameter for 27 august (Thursday) as shown on the graphic form NHC.
Looking ahead there are currently 3 easterly waves over the tropical Atlantic which we are monitoring closely, plus a further 5 prominent waves stretching further east across Africa all headed for the hurricane main development region in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands.
Looking elsewhere, Typhoon Bavi currently in the southern East China Sea is moving north and inspected to strengthen over the next 36 hours (to equivalent Cat 3 major hurricane strength) before weakening and going ashore over North Korea.
Meantime, stay safe.