|In this image taken on Wednesday, Tropical Depression 20 is seen in the eastern Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Image courtesy of CIRA in Colorado State/GOES-East|
The latest tropical depression of the 2021 hurricane season developed over the eastern Atlantic on Wednesday morning, and AccuWeather meteorologists say it was only a matter of time before it develops into a tropical storm.
With 19 depressions and named systems so far, the feature is designated as Tropical Depression 20. Next on the declining list of tropical storm names for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is Victor.
Tropical Depression 20 was located a few hundred miles south of Cabo Verde Islands on Wednesday morning.
According to AccuWeather meteorologist Randy Adkins, conditions will be favorable for strengthening over the next few days, and it is expected that the depression will become Tropical Storm Victor after Wednesday.
Adkins said, “A brief window will exist for the storm to strengthen into a hurricane, but increasing wind shear and dry air will reverse that trend, leading to a gradual increase in wind intensity this weekend into the next week.” It is likely to decrease gradually.” “As it currently stands, this storm will not pose a direct threat to land, although residents of the Azores should closely monitor the progress of this system.”
The Azores are an island chain in the Atlantic about 950 miles west of Portugal.
Because the system has developed enough to produce sustained winds of 35 mph or higher, the National Hurricane Center designated it as a tropical depression. For the system to be declared a tropical storm, sustained winds need to reach 39 mph.
Forecasters expect a south to southwest steering breeze to develop over the mid-Atlantic in the vicinity of the depression. These winds will push the system into the east-central part of the basin and away from the Caribbean Islands, Bermuda and North America from the end of this week to next week.
The newly formed depression is one of two areas of turbulent weather that forecasters are monitoring over the eastern Atlantic.
A few hundred miles to the west of the depression and several hundred miles to the southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, another area of turbulent weather, also known as a tropical wave, appeared poorly organized until Wednesday . Delays in organization may prevent this more westerly tropical wave from developing into a tropical depression and hurricane.
The lack of development so far is significant for the Leeward and Windward Islands, as this more westerly feature was more likely to reach the islands during the early or middle part of next week. Delays in development could allow increasing wind shear near leewards and windwards to inhibit storm development altogether.
“A broad area of wind shear is forecast to increase this week and remain in the wake of Hurricane Sam,” said Bernie Reno, AccuWeather’s chief on-air meteorologist. In this case, hard winds from the west and southwest will develop and expand at the middle level of the atmosphere.
“This belt of wind shear will extend from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean to the mid-Atlantic and is likely to be at its peak later this week,” Reno said. Any tropical feature that tries to form or move in a belt of wind shear is likely to conflict.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, apart from Sam, what was once Peter missed his chance to redevelop. A small swirl of clouds to the southwest of Peter will be monitored for organization, but wind shear could prevent any strong development of that disturbance. The region from the Caribbean to the Atlantic coasts of the United States could be a source of trouble next week.
There is some early indication that one or more areas of low pressure may develop from the Caribbean to the Bahamas and perhaps as far north as the Carolina coast next week. A tropical system is likely to develop over this broad area of low pressure, and will need to be monitored. Stopping or swaying of wind shear can act as a deterrent against rapid growth.
The region from the southeast coast of the US to the Bahamas may be the most likely place for a system to settle.
“An anticipated southward dip in the jet stream over the eastern US could lift any low pressure in the southwest portion of the Atlantic basin and direct it northward over the next week, and there is some possibility that the low center may may take on tropical characteristics,” Adkins said. However, if the jet stream does not raise this low center, assuming it develops in the first place, conditions may be more favorable for tropical development by next weekend.
Despite tropical development in the southwestern part of the Atlantic basin, a broad area of unstable weather conditions can develop from the Caribbean to the Bahamas and eastern part of the United States, and regions of clouds, rain and thunderstorms in coastal waters.
With Victor likely to form in the southeastern Atlantic this week, that leaves Wanda as the only name on the pre-selected list for 2021. The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t end until November 30.
After Wanda is formed, forecasters will use a supplementary list prepared by the World Meteorological Organization to name the system. The list will replace the Greek alphabet, which was used in the past to name storms between two hyperactive seasons: 2020 and 2005.