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Weather Blog: Tropics heat up

by Gene Norman / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 20, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 5:59 AM

Just a few days ago, Bret formed east of the Bahamas and earlier today, another swirl was identified and given the name Cindy.  Here's what both looked like late this afternoon:

Bret is weakening this evening and will likely be downgraded to a tropical depression by Friday.  The good news is that it is far enough away from Florida and won't have any impact on the return of the final space shuttle Atlantis Thursday morning. 

More surprising than anything else was the formation and naming of Cindy.  Surprising because it was a fairly innocuous looking mass of clouds that quickly developed through the day.  It is far enough north, however, that upper-level winds will quickly sweep it into the shipping lanes of the north-central Atlantic ocean.  Also, it will encounter much cooler waters and likely just become an extra-tropical low pressure center.  Neither storm poses a threat to any land areas.

The bad news is that we're already at the "C" storm for this season.  That's the same pace as the very active 2003, 2005 and 2008 seasons.  Here's a look back at the dates when the C storm has occurred over the last 10 seasons:

2011: Cindy - July 20

2010: Colin - August 16

2009: Claudette - August 16

2008: Cristobal - July 19

2007: Chantal - July 31

2006: Chris - August 1

2005: Cindy - July 3

2004: Charley - August 9

2003: Claudette - July 8

2002: Crisotbal - August 5

You may notice that some of the names appear twice.  That's because the same list is used every 6 years and unless a storm's name is retired, it can be used again. 

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Pacific, the second category four hurricane is brewing:

Dora (not the Explorer) is paralleling the Pacific Mexican coast sending large swells inland, but nothing else.  It will continue moving westward through the Pacific through the end of the week before losing strength.  It is interesting to note that all of the storms that have formed in the Eastern Pacific have become hurricanes.

Its still early in the season, and the Cape Verde season hasn't even started yet.  So far, the signs of an active hurricane season in the Atlantic are still there and we have a long way to go.  The best advice is always to get prepared early and stay prepared.  Check in with us on KHOU 11 and on Hurricane Central on khou.com.

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