Every year on Aug. 20, Bill Gray, the Colorado State University professor who pioneered seasonal hurricane forecasting, would ring a bell to mark the start of the most active part of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Gray died in April at the age of 86, but his protégé, Phil Klotzbach, remembered the tradition in a recent Twitter post.
With his bell ringing, Gray was signalling the tendency to get complacent during the first, relatively quiet months of the hurricane season. Even though the season begins on June 1, it usually doesn't really heat up until mid-August, with the peak of activity running to mid-October.
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Almost on cue, the tropical Atlantic has started to bubble into action. Although Tropical Storm Fiona faded earlier this week, Tropical Storm Gaston continues to churn in the North Atlantic.
Of most concern on Thursday is a tropical wave just north of the Dominican Republic which is heading toward the Bahamas. Conditions for development are expected to improve as the weekend nears, but it still has a long way to go to reach tropical storm status.
Beyond the Bahamas, the steering winds suggest that South Florida and other areas along the Gulf coast need to monitor the system, especially because the water temperatures in the Bahamas and the Gulf are extremely warm, between 86° and 90°F (30° and 32°C).
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