Tropical Wave Journeying West Across Atlantic

A tropical wave just off the African shore is making its way toward the Caribbean in a Thursday satellite photo, while a second system to the right prepares to follow. (NOAA satellite image)

A tropical wave located a few hundred miles southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms and is likely to undergo tropical development as it moves west across the Atlantic towards the Caribbean.

In its 8 p.m. AST Thursday update, the National Hurricane Center gave the system a 60 percent chance of formation in the next 48 hours and a 90 percent chance of formation in the next five days.

The wave may not become a named storm system until Sunday or Monday. The more gradual development is not good news for the Leeward Islands, because the chances of the disturbance curving north into the open Atlantic are decreasing, while the potential of this becoming a major storm system is increasing.

Three of the more notable forecast models used by meteorologists show the system moving into the Caribbean as a strong storm by late next week. A majority of the European ensemble forecast models seem to favor a track towards the central and northern Lesser Antilles by about the middle of next week.

Meanwhile, another tropical wave is forecast to emerge off the west coast of Africa this weekend. The NHC said environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for development, and a tropical depression could form over the far eastern tropical Atlantic early next week while the system moves slowly westward.