Posted: Monday, September 25, 2023. 8:25 pm CST.
By Horace Palacio: Tropical Storm Philippe emerged in the heart of the tropical Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, making its journey westward. According to the latest forecasts, the storm is set to curl northwest later in the week, which would mean the Lesser Antilles will likely dodge a direct impact.
As of the latest update, Philippe’s location is pinned over a thousand miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, continuing its westerly journey across the tropical Atlantic stretch. One of the notable features of this storm’s environment is that Philippe currently traverses oceanic waters displaying temperatures that are much warmer than the average, even potentially reaching record highs for this period of the year.
Yet, Philippe’s growth might be stunted. The storm is experiencing wind shear, a condition which could persist over the next several days. This might impede the storm from gathering substantial strength in the immediate future, as the latest projections suggest.
The storm’s trajectory over the next day or so is predicted to follow the southern fringes of the Bermuda high, meaning its movement will likely be west or west-northwest. However, this Bermuda high is anticipated to weaken and shift eastwards by mid-week. This change could prompt Philippe to make a northwestward twist in its path. What comes next for Philippe may be influenced by its intensity at that point.
Should Philippe maintain its strength as a robust tropical storm, it might veer north into the vastness of the central Atlantic, echoing the movement patterns of Tropical Storm Nigel just last week. On the other hand, if the storm succumbs to the adverse effects of the shear and diminishes in strength, it might get redirected back westward.
For the inhabitants of the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, there’s a silver lining: Philippe isn’t projected to be a direct threat. The most they might experience from the storm are heightened swells, which could result in elevated surf conditions, especially on the northern and eastern shores later this week. Yet, as with all tropical systems, it remains essential for residents in these regions to keep a close eye on updates, as the weather can be unpredictable, and forecasts can change.
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