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Invest 97-L likely won't develop into a tropical depression or storm

The National Hurricane Center is giving the tropical wave a 10% chance of developing over the next five days.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The National Hurricane Center is tracking a tropical wave moving off the coast of Africa into the eastern Atlantic for possible development, but current chances for a named storm remain low. 

The tropical wave has been designated as Invest 97-L as the NHC monitors its potential for development. Currently, the NHC is giving the system a 10% chance of developing over the next five days. Right now, there's only a 10% chance of development over the next 48 hours.

Still, this is the first tropical wave the NHC has needed to keep an eye on at all in more than a month. Since early July, the tropics have been dead quiet. In fact, the last named storm, Tropical Storm Colin, fizzled out around that time.

Lots of wind shear and Saharan dust in the Atlantic have made it hard for tropical systems to develop. 

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

Some development is possible, but the storm will remain weak as it deals with dry air and more shear. More good news, as this wave travels to the west-northwest, it will likely weaken further or completely fall apart as it moves toward the northern Lesser Antilles.

This system, although it is expected to stay weak, is a good reminder that we are quickly moving towards the most active time of the year. More frequent and stronger activity will be possible by late August and heading into September. 

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency that oversees the National Hurricane Center and other environmental-related entities, forecasts a total of 14-20 named storms with winds of at least 39 mph, or tropical storm strength, this season.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Of those named storms, six to 10 are expected to be of hurricane strength, with winds at or above 74 mph. And three to five of those are forecast to reach major hurricane strength — Category 3 or higher, with winds of at least 111 mph.

There is an average of seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes each year.

NOAA's updated seasonal outlook shows just a slight decrease from what it forecast in late May. The chance for an above-normal season fell from 65 percent to 60 percent in its latest forecast.


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