It's Cape Verde Time

By Chris Mooney | September 12, 2010 8:54 am

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:

Possible TS Julia

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.


Comments (1)

  1. I sure hope these storms continue to avoid land like they have most of the time this year. The ones coming off the African coasts have developed into some big storms. It’s hard for me not to be reminded of the storms several years ago that came at us one after the other here in Florida and the Gulf coast. So far this year we’ve been blessed in spite of all the storms forming.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


See More

Collapse bottom bar