A tropical wave making its way over Haiti and the Dominican Republic is headed toward southeast Texas, though it has a low chance of strengthening over the next few days.
The National Hurricane Center said in an advisory Sunday that the system hovering over the southwestern Atlantic waters should move over the central part of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.
While it is not expected to directly affect South Florida, forecasters with the National Weather Service said the southern tip of the state should expect for more sporadic rain showers to continue into the rest of this week. There is a succession of tropical waves circling the Caribbean that could continue to bring rainy weather.
There is a 20% chance that the new disturbance, which is “producing disorganized rain activity,” will continue to grow over the next five days, starting on Wednesday and Thursday, as it moves along its path west northwest-ward.
Following a stretch of less tropical activity, a new tropical disturbance has drawn some attention to the Atlantic Ocean Basin.
Dry air and strong winds over the basin for last several weeks have prevented any organized tropical activity. The last tropical system to form was Tropical Storm Fay, which made landfall earlier this month in New Jersey, on July 10.
On Sunday afternoon, a tropical wave drew attention over Hispaniola, the southeastern Bahamas and the waters of the southwestern Atlantic Ocean.
Currently, the disturbance is creating disorganized showers, but as it draws into the Gulf conditions will become more conducive to tropical development.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty, the tropical wave will move through some of the Caribbean Islands on Tuesday.
The wave is then expected to reach the central Gulf on Wednesday and the northwestern Gulf by Thursday.
The wave is forecast to track very close to the mountainous terrain of Cuba, and as such is not expected to gain wind strength during that time. Instead, the impact may be felt in terms of rainfall.
The presence of the tropical wave will enhance the rainfall in the region, bringing more widespread rain and thunderstorms with some downpours.
Once the wave moves into the Gulf of Mexico late Tuesday, the environment will have more favorable conditions for tropical development. Two of the important ingredients for tropical development are warm, open waters and minimal wind shear, both of which will be present in the Gulf this week.
„Due to the brisk, westward movement of this feature through the warm waters of the Gulf, it will have a limited amount of time to develop,” Douty explained.
AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda said that while a hurricane is unlikely, there is about a 40% possibility of the wave developing into a tropical depression, and around a 20% chance of it becoming a named storm.
„Even if it doesn’t become a depression, the increase in tropical moisture it will bring into the Gulf and eventually the western Gulf Coast will result in an increase in heavy downpours regardless at the end of the week,” Sojda said.
The Gulf of Mexico is not the only body of water that could produce an organized tropical feature this week. In the Eastern Pacific Ocean, there is the potential for a tropical depression to form by the middle of the week.
Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
New Zealand scientists have invented a new volcano alert system that they say could have provided warning ahead of last year’s White Island disaster.
Twenty-one people died when the country’s most active volcano, also called Whakaari, suddenly erupted last December with tourists on it.
The new system uses machine learning algorithms to analyse real-time data to predict future eruptions.
The research was publish in the journal Nature last week.
One of the scientists involved in the project, Shane Cronin from the University of Auckland, told the BBC the current system had been „too slow to provide warnings for people [on] the island.”
„The current [alert system] collects data in real-time but what tends to happen is that this information gets assessed by a panel and they have an expert process… this all takes a while,” he said.
„The way we warn for volcanoes was good enough 10 years ago but it’s not actually moving with the times.”
‘We’ve really got to work on this now’
The new automated warning system was fed data collected over the past nine years from White Island. From that data it learns patterns that indicate that an eruption might be on the way.
It successfully predicted four out of five past eruptions at White Island – missing only one which had different „precursors” in place.
„We picked up all but one eruption which was a different type which involved no magma, just an eruption from the shallow system and that has a different type of precursor signal,” said Prof Cronin.
„So at the moment, we can identify the main normal type of eruption and we’re just trying to work out the second model [involving the shallow surface eruptions].”
According to Dr Cronin, research on the new system had already begun before the White Island eruption, but „when the eruption happened it really accelerated us. We were like – we’ve really got to work on this now”.They say that if this system had been implemented last December, it could have alerted officials up to 16 hours before the eruption took place.
Despite some seismic activity in the weeks prior to the White Island explosion the sudden and dramatic nature of the eruption took everyone, including authorities, by surprise.
New Zealand’s official volcano monitoring agency, GNS Science, said the new system could be a „potentially useful addition” to its own systems, but cautioned that it had its limitations.
„As for any technique in development, it still incorporates a high level of uncertainty,” Nico Fournier told news outlet the NZ Herald.
However, Mr Fournier revealed that the technique had been „added to the multiple datasets and analyses we routinely look at”.
Another scientists involved in the research Dr David Dempsey also acknowledged that the system „is not without its caveats”.
„The system is not 100% to catch every future eruption,” he told BBC News.
„When it does raise an alert for suspicious activity, it does not guarantee that an eruption will occur. However, it is an improvement over the current system that provides no short term warnings.”