First, let’s be clear… “worth watching” means just that… “worth watching.” Not “it’s comin’ right for us,” and not “arm-wrestle for the last can of Spam.”
Before we dig into Karen, let’s clear out some of the noise along the way… Tropical Storm Jerry continues to move along a track that is expected to keep it well away from the US mainland. There’s an area of likely development just off the coast of Africa that will probably be a tropical storm soon but it’s way, way, way too early to know what it’s going to do (though most models currently expect a northward turn that would keep it far away from us).
And then there’s Karen.
As you’ll note on the map above, Karen is expected to track over the next five days generally toward the area where Jerry sits right now… possibly passing over Puerto Rico along the way. Right now, the thinking is it would max out at tropical storm strength throughout the entire trip, and could even briefly fall apart and re-form during the journey. But you might notice that little hook to the left/west near the very end of the track.
If you’ve paid attention to our posts, you know that days 4 and 5 of a hurricane track are somewhere between voodoo and doodoo, and anything beyond that is an educated guess at best. With that said, the European Model, which is typically the most reliable (and at the very least could reasonably called the most powerful), has been insistent for several runs now that the storm will stall out briefly and then interact with a high pressure area that would force the storm to make a hard left towards Florida around the end of the month. This is not a forecast by any means. There is plenty of time for things to change based on any number factors including but not limited to A) shear along the way, B) the development, strength, and location of that high pressure system, C) the timing of any interaction between the two systems, D) the timing and duration of the expected stall, and E) any other atmospheric quirks it encounters along the way. Beyond that, it’s worth noting that the American model doesn’t buy this story for one minute, and keeps her well out to sea. The Canadian model does a loop-de-loop but keeps her away from the states. The NAVGEM model splits the difference between the Canadian and European model, with Karen doing a loop but spinning off a weak mini-storm that would then track across south Florida.
Unless something drastic changes, there’s easily a week worth of watching before we’d start worrying about any potential impacts… and again there may be none at all. So go and enjoy what passes for the first week of Fall in Central Florida… and check back a bit later on to see if Karen wants to speak to the manager of this establishment.
Keep calm and carry on!