NEW ORLEANS — Tropical Storm Josephine has formed and is now the earliest "J" storm on record. It beats the old record set back on August 22, 2005 when Jose formed.
At 10 AM on Thursday the storm had 45 mph sustained winds and was moving WNW at 15 mph. The system is expected to pass north of the Leeward Islands and begin to weaken as it turns north next week. Impacts are not expected for the U.S.
There is also another intersecting feature off the coast of North Carolina. The NHC is not currently highlighting it for development, but models keep trying to spin something up as it moves east into the Atlantic. This will not be an issue for the Gulf Coast.
There is a pattern called the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) which is a fluctuation of favorable and unfavorable states for tropical development across the globe. This favorable/unfavorable pattern shifts every few weeks. For the next few weeks, the more favorable region is over the Pacific, but toward the end of August and into September, this pattern will shift over the Atlantic. That doesn't mean you won't see ANY development over a particular basin when in an "unfavorable" phase, but when in "favorable" it is usually when you see multiple storms at a time and also when you see the chance for more powerful storms. So we'll be more favorable as we near the peak of the season. Stay tuned.
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HURRICANE SEASON FORECAST TO BECOME "EXTREMELY ACTIVE"
NOAA released their August hurricane season forecast update and calls for an 'Extremely Active' season. The forecast calls for 19-25 named storms, 7-11 hurricanes and 3-6 major. These numbers already include the nine named storms and two hurricanes.
The reasons for the extremely active season:
• Warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean
• Enhanced West African Monsoon (rainy) season - causes tropical waves
• Possible La Nina forming in the months ahead
• Reduced wind shear over the Atlantic Basin - allows storms to develop
Now is the time to be prepared. Typically, the season becomes more active in the next few weeks with the peak on September 10th.
The expert forecasters at Colorado State have issued their August update on the 2020 hurricane season. Their forecast now calls for 24 named storms (including the nine already), 12 hurricanes (including the two already) and five major hurricanes.
That's an increase of four named storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane.
Should there be 24 named storms, they would run out of names and have to go to the Greek alphabet, like they did in 2005.