Hurricane Season: Helene?

Our Hurricane Gordon has been usurped by a minor tropical depression potentially claiming that name in the next couple of days. The real story though is that hypothetical we talked about on the 16 day forecasts a week ago is now an area of potential storm formation with a 50% chance of becoming a named storm (Tropical Storm Helene if TD7 grabs Gordon first) in the next 48hrs, following remarkably close to the original script.

This chart shows a pretty busy Atlantic picture. None of it at the moment quite making the grade where it’s needed most. We’ve seen a modest Gulf swell from Ernesto, really uninspiring Florence (now the yellow area marked 1) and Tropical Depression Seven set to wander on Ernesto’s tracks. So our hopes (for East coast US at least) remain pinned on the the orange area (2) forming at the moment on the West coast of Africa.

Running this now defined area of storm activity through the same tests we talked about in the last post we come to similar conclusions – perhaps surprisingly given we’re quite a bit further down the road and the storm forecast a week ago is now clearly starting to form. Model comparisons are ever so slightly more in favour of this storm than before with the NOGAPS now showing the same system, but the reliable ECMWF and UKMET models are both still failing to show any interest. So the analysis remains very much as before, with a cautious call for this area to develop into a system capable of delivering meaningful swell for the US East Coast. Although it’d be fair to mention that at the end of the range the latest model runs are offering an intensity and swell size more modest than the original, somewhat fanciful, numbers with the track pushing the peak of the swell to the NY/NJ area. Although again it’s a long way to early to have anything more than passing interest in this no doubt changeable outcome. Once we move into the post-genesis phase for this storm (if that is what happens) model accuracy for the forward track is generally improved and it’ll be interesting to see if the relatively consistently forecast track we’ve seen over the last week alters significantly.

Possible Hurricane Helene Scenario

As always keep your eye on our charts and our hurricane forecast and we’ll update with any Hurricane Gordon/Hurricane Helene news here as it happens.