Planet Earth

It's Cape Verde Time

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneySep 12, 2010 12:54 PM


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At the peak of Atlantic hurricane season, one usually gets a lot of what are called Cape Verde-type storms. They are so named because they develop from tropical easterly waves right off the coast of Africa, near the Cape Verde islands. A storm developing in this location then has the opportunity to travel across the entirety of the warm Atlantic, strengthening steadily all the while. Cape Verde type storms are therefore often the fiercest, and most destructive of hurricanes once they reach land in the Americas. I point all of this out because in recent weeks, waves have been developing off the African coast quite effortlessly, and we now have Hurricane Igor opening his eye (yesss, master?) and a possible tropical storm Julia to follow. Here's a recent satellite view of the eastern Atlantic, with Igor off to the left and what's likely to become Julia just off the African coast:

There's no telling yet how these may affect land. They're far out--and that's the problem. They may build up a lot of strength before they arrive. Igor, for instance, is currently forecast to become a Category 4 hurricane.

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