Keeping an Eye on the Tropics
Here's a sort of reminder that we are indeed in Hurricane Season. Currently, the are two disturbances and both have the potential to grow at this point. The main system being watched is Invest 97-L, located about 300 miles ESE of Kingston, Jamaica could be upgraded to a named storm later today or tomorrow according to the National Hurricane Center, and that name would be Earl.
As the storm moved over the Virgin Islands this weekend, tropical storm force winds were already recorded, with the only real limiting factor on the upgrade thus far being a lack of a closed center of circulation, but recent satellite observations indicate that a circulation is gradually becoming better defined.
The system is moving along toward the west at 20 to 25 mph, with heavy rain over Hispaniola today as a result with tropical storm force conditions moving over Jamaica later this afternoon, reaching the Cayman Islands overnight.
Now that the system is in an environment of weaker surface winds and low shear with extremely warm water temperatures, there is good reason to believe some strengthening and organization of this storm system will continue over the days ahead.
The general forecast track and model guidance does indicate some strengthening as it approaches Central America later by mid-week, perhaps making a landfall over Belize or the southern Yucatan Peninsula by Wednesday.