Mitchell Krog is a Johannesburg based wildlife and landscape photographer
We seem to be experiencing stronger storms here in the Cape over recent hours than the tropical Atlantic has been experiencing this month. Hurricane season kicked off on the 1st of June and since that time we have only had three named storms for the Atlantic basin, this is below normal activity at this point and it’s got many of us trackers twiddling our thumbs, waiting for something else to develop. The Eastern Pacific however has been active with several hurricanes over the past month. The last storm in the Atlantic was Dorian, who was always hindered by the unfavourable environment.
The reason for the lack of activity in the Atlantic seems to be primarily due to a large amount of dry air. In fact, there was a massive surge of SAL (Saharan Air Layer) / Dry Air over majority of the Atlantic basin last week, which made it impossible for any storms to develop. Since then the SAL has eased off a little bit and is confined to the eastern Atlantic, off the coast of North Africa. So while we here in the Cape get blasted by a cold front which brought winds in excess of 65km/h and heavy rain overnight, the Atlantic is looking still.
But that may be about to change. The NHC, as well as us trackers are currently monitoring an area of disturbed weather in the central Caribbean that is associated with a westward moving tropical wave. This tropical wave is expected to merge with moisture moving off the South American continent and in turn we may see something developing this week in the northern Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. The NHC has given this system a 30% chance of development in the next 5 days.
Models have been split and flip-flopping on the system. The models that do develop it move it either north into the south Gulf Coast, or westward near the Bay of Campeche. At this stage there isn’t much to watch, but the next few days may get interesting for a lot of bored trackers.
Also of note is that some of the models are finally starting to develop ‘fantasy storms’ (storms that are in the long range and thus unreliable). While many of these storms do never actually form, some of them do and watching for consensus between models on long range development is essential.
Closer to home though, we experienced some impressive snow falls last week and look to possibly get some more into the latter end of this week, as a series of strong cold fronts pass through. Winter gave a preview of Spring recently, but it’s back with full vengeance.