The tropics are heating up again in the Atlantic, and one feature may be one for even the United States to watch for this weekend into next week. The area of disturbed weather became Tropical Depression 18 this morning. It’s steadily getting itself more organized with heavy thunderstorms working on enclosing itself around the center of circulation, which is about 300 miles south of Jamaica. This tropical system has now strengthened to a tropical storm and is named Sandy.
Tropical Storm Sandy's current statistics are below. Sandy doesn’t have much for steering winds over it, but a trough of low pressure should start to swing it up to the north starting tomorrow. Its path is expected to take it over the island of Jamaica on Wednesday. Tropical storm watches are in effect for the island as well as Haiti. Wind shear will be in the low to moderate range, so we expect this storm to gradually strengthen. Sandy will head over Cuba and the Bahamas later in the week dumping very heavy rains. The forecast beyond that is very, very cloudy.
One scenario would take the cyclone more out to sea and away from the U.S. It could possibly make a run at Bermuda. Then there is another theory… The European model would take the storm just up the east coast and shove it onto the northeast coast of the United States early next week. The image below shows the storm hanging out just north of the Bahamas on Sunday morning. This would be a pretty big storm with the outer rain bands impacting the southeast coast. This would be a big wave producer for the east coast.
The European model takes the storm north just off the coast and will interact with a cold front that will be moving into the Northeast. The interaction and a high pressure ridge would take what looks like a hurricane into the coast of hurricane next Tuesday. If this holds true, it could be a very interesting week of weather. However, other models show this system not impacting the United States. It’ll definitely be a feature to keep our eyes on over the next week.