Invest 96-L: High chance of tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic

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Tropical System Continues to Develop in the Atlantic


By Chris Dolce, Weather.com

It's been a very quiet first half of August in the Atlantic basin of the tropics. No tropical depressions or named storms have formed yet this month, largely due to unfavorable upper-level winds and dry air.

August is the first month of a period that runs through September and into early October where we typically look farther east into the Atlantic for development. This is in addition to the typical formation areas that are closer to the United States.

(MORE: Heart of the Hurricane Season is Here)

Right now, we have our eyes on an area of interest in the far eastern Atlantic dubbed Invest 96-L. This is a naming convention used by the National Hurricane Center to identify features they are monitoring for potential future development into a tropical depression or a tropical storm. For more details on what an Invest is, click the link below.

(MORE: What is an Invest?)

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has given Invest 96-L a 90 percent chance (high chance) of further development into a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next 48 hours as it tracks west-northwest across the open Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the NHC says a tropical depression could form as soon as Tuesday.

As of Tuesday morning, satellite imagery showed some clusters of showers and thunderstorms becoming better organized in association with Invest 96-L well to the southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. This is being driven by an area of low pressure near the surface of the earth that has a spin to it that is clearly evident on satellite imagery. If showers and thunderstorms can persist in tandem with this spin, then we could see further development into a tropical depression.

At the moment, winds aloft in the area near Invest 96-L are not too strong and the environment is somewhat moist. This is why it's being given a high chance of development at this time.

Is this a reason to be concerned? Since Invest 96-L is well away from any land areas at this time and is expected to move very slowly, we have plenty of time to monitor its progress. As mentioned before, dry air and unfavorable upper winds have dominated the Atlantic so far this month, so we'll see if Invest 96-L can survive the journey to a longitude near the Lesser Antilles in about a week.

Stay tuned to The Weather Channel and check back with weather.com for updates in Invest 96-L.

See photos from the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season:

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NASA satellite hurricane photos from space
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Invest 96-L: High chance of tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic
AT SEA - OCTOBER 28: In this handout satellite image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Sandy, pictured at 00:15 UTC, churns off the east coast on October 28, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean. Sandy which has already claimed over 50 lives in the Caribbean is predicted to bring heavy winds and floodwaters to the mid-atlantic region. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Hurricane Sandy at night, from space

Photo: NASA/Flickr

Hurricane Irene as Seen from Space

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IN SPACE - SEPTEMBER 11: In this handout satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), hurricane Humberto (R) forms as a category one on September 11, 2013 in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. Humberto is the first hurricane of the 2013 season. (Photo by NOAA/NASA GOES Project via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 3: In this handout provided by the NASA, Hurricane Arthur is seen from the International Space Staion as it moves up the U.S. East Coast on July 3, 2014. According to reports, Arthur will continue to strengthen and will reach a category two in strength prior to landfall as early as the evening on July 3. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
CARIBBEAN SEA - AUGUST 24: In this handout MODIS satellite image provided by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Hurricane Irene (top center) churns over the Bahamas on August 24, 2011 in the Caribbean Sea. Irene, now a Category 3 storm with winds of 120 miles per hour, is projected to possibly clip the Outer Banks region of North Carolina before moving up the eastern seaboard of the U.S. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall in North Carolina

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Hurricane Irene

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Hurricane Katrina

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NASA's Terra Satellite Shows a Larger Hurricane Sandy Over Bahamas

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IN SPACE - SEPTEMBER 10: In this handout image provided by NASA, Hurricane Ike is seen on September 10, 2008 from aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The center of the hurricane was near 23.8 degrees north latitude and 85.3 degrees west longitude, moving 300 degrees at 7 nautical miles per hour. The sustained winds were 80 nautical miles per hour with gusts to 100 nautical miles per hour and forecast to intensify, according to NASA. The eye of the hurricane is expected to make landfall at Galveston Island early Saturday (13 September 2008) morning. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Archive: South Pacific Storm (NASA, Skylab, 12/02/73)

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UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: This photo of Hurricane Frances was taken by NASA ISS Science Officer and Flight Engineer Mike Fincke aboard the International Space Station as he flew 230 miles above the storm at about 10 am EDT Friday, 27 August 2004. At the time, Frances was about 820 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the Atlantic Ocean, moving west-northwest at 10 miles an hour, with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles an hour. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

Hurricane Dean photographed from Shuttle Endeavour [1680x1050]

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Hurricane Danielle (NASA, International Space Station Science, 08/27/10) [Explored]

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No Named Storms in August: How Rare?

The month of August is typically active in the Atlantic, averaging about two named storms annually (1851-2014).

It's not very often we go through an entire August without a single active named storm. In fact, the last time it happened was 18 years ago in August 1997. Before that you have to go back to 1961 to find an August with no named storms.

It is perhaps no coincidence that a strong El Nino was in its early stages during August 1997, similar in some ways to what is happening this year. El Nino, a warming of the waters in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, is often associated with increased wind shear over the Atlantic Basin. That can make it difficult for tropical waves emerging from Africa to survive the westward journey across the Atlantic.

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