This hurricane season appears to be following in 2020’s footsteps, a dawning realization driven home by the naming of 2021’s 20th storm.
Victor formed from a hearty African monsoonal wave, yet another Cabo Verde-area development that will bring more late season action to the so-called ‘main development region’ of the Atlantic. As the wave propagated east today, it steadily developed more vigorous convective activity; by this afternoon, the thunderstorms had enough organization and spin to allow tropical classification.
Victor isn’t winning any awards for beauty today, but it isn’t quite doomed to repeat the 2021 trend of being a ‘shorty’, either.
The season’s admittedly felt like one with a particularly high frequency of short-lived, weak tropical cyclones that allow names to quickly run out amidst slow-to-evolve ACE, or accumulated cyclone energy. But ACE is now quickly ticking upward due to intense, long-lived Sam; and Victor should help push the seasonal tracking index higher.
The cyclone is ejecting deeper into the open Atlantic amidst a combination of factors fairly supportive of intensification. Sea surface temperatures are around the order of 28ºC, and flow aloft will likely prove more favorable than unfavorable. Still, though, the storm is large and quite close to the equator, which will probably limit the speed with which Victor can intensify substantially.
The HWRF depicts a circulation that should organize through the next few days, eventually approaching hurricane strength by around Friday.
By the end of the weekend, a midlevel trough will do two things to poor Victor: steer the storm dramatically north, and impart a combination of shear and dry air. The former will keep the storm a threat only to fish, analogous to Sam but more-so. This means the biggest thing to watch with Victor will be, in my opinion, the ability to help rack up this seasonal accumulated cyclone energy and propel 2021 deeper into the big leagues.
Really, that concern boils down to the ability of the still anemic storm to strengthen quickly enough, and hold its intensity for long enough despite internal fluctuations, to prove interesting.
Far from land, with a brief window of opportunity, Victor has two choices: go big or go out as just another difficult to remember shorty on 2021’s auxiliary list quest.