From his vantage point high above the earth in the International Space Station, Astronaut Ed Lu captured this broad view of Hurricane Isabel. The image, ISS007-E-14750, was taken with a 50 mm lens on a digital camera. (Photo : Mike Trenchard, Earth Sciences & Image Analysis Laboratory , Johnson Space Center.)
Tropical storm season is heating up.
Currently, there are two tropical storms that may make landfall in the United States, according to meteorologists at AccuWeather. The most immediate threat seems to come from an area in the Caribbean between Cuba and Central America, where meteorologists see a forming system potentially making landfall on the Gulf Coast between Louisiana and Florida. Other models see a front moving off the coast of the United States, pushing the storm down into Central America. Whatever the case may be, some rain could douse the Southeast with flash flooding by the weekend.
According to the National Hurricane Center, there is a 50 percent chance a cyclone will form in the next two days, and a 60 percent chance it forms within the next five.
The other potentially more violent storm system meteorologists are monitoring is further out in Atlantic, with a tropical wave forming off the African coastline heading towards the Western Hemisphere. According to the Weather Underground, the expected west-northwest track of that storm system will eventually drop it into a region of the ocean devoid of any land except the Bermuda islands.
Earlier this month, a cloud of dust the size of the United States blew over the Sahara and into the Atlantic, reducing moisture and humidity and hindering storm system development. The dryness created by that system means that the wave moving through the region will likely break apart on its path toward land. Still, another tropical wave will move off the African coast later in the week; by that time, the Atlantic will be a less-hostile environment and the chances of the storm reaching the states are considerably higher.
Currently, there have been no major hurricanes this hurricane season in the United States. In a typical year, the first hurricane of the season has struck by around Aug. 10, according to the Baltimore Sun.