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Meteorologists keep close watch on potential Atlantic storms

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The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s five-day tropical weather outlook.

Meteorologists are today watching several weather systems which could become tropical cyclones as the 2022 Hurricane Season begins to pick up.

While this year’s season has had a slow start with only three named storms to date, the season is still forecast to be busier than average.

As of yesterday, the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was watching four areas for potential development.

The system most likely to strengthen was yesterday located east of the Leeward Islands and moving west.

The NOAA said: “Although environmental conditions are only marginally favourable, some gradual development of this system is expected over the next several days and a tropical depression is likely to form later this week.

“The disturbance is forecast to move slowly towards the west and then west-northwest at 5 to 10mph, towards the adjacent waters of the northern Leeward Islands.”

The NOAA estimated that the system had a 50 per cent chance of becoming a tropical system by Wednesday morning and an 80 per cent chance of escalating by Saturday morning.

The other systems being tracked all had significantly lower likelihood of becoming named storms.

The closest to the island — a small low-pressure system located 600 miles east of Bermuda — has a 10 per cent chance of strengthening to become a named storm over the course of the week.

The NOAA said: “Strong upper-level winds and dry air are expected to limit significant development of this system while it drifts southward and southwestward over the central Atlantic during the next couple of days, and likely dissipate by the end of the week.”

Meteorologists are also monitoring a tropical wave off the west coast of Africa, which could strengthen as it moves west over the Atlantic, and a trough of low pressure developing over the northwest Caribbean Sea near the Yucatan peninsula.

Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, said the Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation Team were keeping an eye on developing weather systems in the Atlantic.

Mr Weeks urged the public to be prepared and said: “While we have been blessed to have experienced a largely uneventful hurricane season so far, I must stress that our peak season has yet to start and we must prepare appropriately.

“I know that as residents we are used to disturbances at this time of year, but I urge everyone to ensure they are ready for a hurricane should one come our way this season.

“Now is the time to revisit your checklists, ensure you are stocked up on emergency supplies and do not wait until a storm is on its way.”

Members of the public are urged to pay attention to vegetation on their properties which could become a hazard to roads or Belco poles, and boat owners should be careful to inspect their vessels and moorings.

Mr Weeks added: “Storms are truly unpredictable, changing direction rapidly and unexpectedly. We have seen the immense damage they can cause.”

A more comprehensive list of steps residents can take to prepare for hurricane season are available at https://www.gov.bm/are-you-ready-hurricane-season.

Marine heatwave map as of 9.30am on Monday. (Image from marineheatwaves.org)

Waters in the North Atlantic have been experiencing a moderate to strong marine heatwave, with seawater temperatures exceeding normal levels for more than a week.

A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Weather Service said last week it was not surprising to have a marine heatwave given the weather the island has experienced over the past few months.

“The sun warms the sea surface just like the land, it just does it at a slower pace because of thermodynamics,” she said.

“The relationship between the ocean and atmosphere is complicated and both influence each other in many ways; some more subtle than others.

“For instance, Bermuda doesn’t experience extreme hot or cold temperatures often because of the moderating effect of the sea surface temperature in our area.”

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Published August 30, 2022 at 7:53 am (Updated August 30, 2022 at 8:02 am)

Meteorologists keep close watch on potential Atlantic storms

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