Strong tropical wave approaching the Caribbean may develop into a tropical depression

Bridgetown, Barbados, July 29, 2006 – The next potential tropical storm of the season may be on the horizon.

A strong tropical wave in the mid-Atlantic is this morning showing signs of becoming better organised and the National Hurricane Centre in Miami said that a tropical depression could form during the next day or two as it moves westward at 20 miles per hour. Should it become a tropical storm, it would be named “Chris”.

Clouds can be seen to be turning anti-clockwise in the system and this is usually a sign that the system is trying to become organised. In addition there is much thunderstorm activity just to the west of it and should the two merge they will ignite the tropics.

This tropical wave has been quite impressive from the time it left Africa a few days ago and unlike the numerous other waves this month, this one had maintained its level of activity though the 1012 millibar low pressure centre was too close to the equator to allow it to utilise the rotation and gravity of the earth (Coriolis Force) which would allow it to begin a northwest jog. This morning the centre seems to have reformed and is estimated to be between eight and nine degrees latitude along 42 to 43 degrees west. The Coriolis Force becomes an influence from 10 degrees latitude and higher.

Tracking and intensity computer models which ran last night and early this morning are predicting that a tropical depression will form in another day and strengthen into a tropical storm within a few days afterwards. However, there are many factors which are still to come together of a tropical cyclone is to form.

At 5 am today the system was located about 1100 miles south-southwest of Barbados, moving westwards.

If it does not develop into a cyclone then it will likely slam into South America by Tuesday. If some development starts but there is not a quick intensification then the southern Caribbean islands such as Tobago, Trinidad, Barbados could get much welcomed rain together with gusty winds also by Tuesday. Should it develop into a tropical cyclone within the next three days and based on other what the computer models are forecasting about other elements of the atmosphere, the cyclone would likely make a gradual northwest turn not crossing the island chain, if at all, until late next week.

No matter which way it goes, residents of the Caribbean should pay close attention to the progress of this approaching tropical wave.