While most of the nation’s weather experts are watching Tropical Storm Don approach the Texas coastline, Tampa Bay residents might want to keep an eye on the Atlantic east of the Lesser Antilles. The National Hurricane Center is monitoring an African tropical wave that’s now labeled “Invest 91L”. NHC forecasters give 91L a 30 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone over the next few days. While the NHC does not issue official forecasts on Invest systems the computer projections known as spaghetti charts show it crossing the Lesser Antilles on a west northwesterly course toward Florida’s east coast and up the eastern seaboard. However, expert forecasters always urge everyone to take computer forecasts with a grain of salt, especially so early in a system’s development.
At his Weather Underground website, Dr. Jeff Masters provides a more technically detailed analysis of the systems’ prospects of further development and the verdict is a mixed bag with warm water temperatures and low wind sheer in the immediate future, but higher wind sheer could hamper development by the time it approaches the Lesser Antilles early next week. You can see Dr. Masters’ analysis by clicking here.
As usual when we’re discussing an “Invest” system there’s no need for any major concern, but there is never a bad time to review your hurricane preparations. Invest 91L is currently no threat to Hillsborough County or the rest of Tampa Bay, but it’s better to be alert and prepared than to be caught by surprise.