Seemingly on cue with the flip of the calendar, a tropical storm is likely to develop in the Caribbean soon. A disturbance south of Puerto Rico, currently referred to as Invest 97, is likely to become the season’s fifth tropical storm by midweek. Based on satellite data coming in Monday morning, it may even happen sooner than that. On average, three times as many tropical storms form in August than in July.
The National Hurricane Center gave Invest 97 a "high" chance of development over the next two days. A low-level center of circulation has not been discovered yet, but convection appeared to be getting better organized and was more persistent. A mid-level circulation was also evident on satellite and water vapor imagery. The disturbance was moving quickly to the west at 25 mph.
The unusually fast forward speed of Invest 97 is likely to only allow for gradual development with time, as the low level winds can’t become aligned with upper level patterns. There is a general consensus by reliable modeling that Invest 97 will move westward and potentially threaten parts of Central America by Thursday or Friday. Forecast data suggests the system will slow down on it’s approach to land, which could allow for more rapid strengthening.
Other than maybe an increase in tropical moisture from the proximity of the system, which many Floridians would welcome, Invest 97 is no threat to the State of Florida. A record four named storms have already formed this season, all of them before June 20. The second named storm, on average, develops by August 1. The peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is September 10, and nearly 75 percent of the season's activity occurs in the months of August, September and October.