SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The tropics have been relatively quiet in the Atlantic for the last few days, despite Tropical Storm Fred spinning away over the open waters of the Atlantic. But, we will likely see new development off the African coast this week.
"A tropical depression could be forming," said the National Hurricane Center's Saturday morning update. 'Invest 91L' is what the NHC calls the tropical wave located about 200 miles south of the Cape Verde Islands.
91L was gradually becoming better organized on Saturday morning. Our next named storm would be Grace, if 91L forms into a tropical storm over the next week. But, even if 91L does become Grace, it may not thrive gracefully in the Atlantic due to unfavorable conditions.
Down the line, forecast models take 91L westward into a generally unfavorable environment for development. There is a large area of dry air in the system's path across the central Atlantic Ocean. Also, there is a band of unfavorable wind shear stretching from the Caribbean to Africa. While 91L, will not have to deal with that wind shear for a while, if it encounters it later this week, it will slow the system's development.
Like what happened with Fred last week, the strength of the Bermuda high pressure ridge over the Atlantic Ocean will determine when 91L takes a turn to the north. A weaker high pressure ridge means 91L could turn early and stay out to sea like Fred. A stronger high pressure ridge would mean a later turn to the north for 91L which would bring it closer to the US mainland than Fred was able to be.
It is too early to call 91L a threat to the US. And it is located thousands of miles away from the Gulf Coast. Certainly no cause for concern, but the WLOX 24/7 Weather Team will continue to track the latest developments on 91L.