Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tropical Storm Bret (2017)

Storm Active: June 19-20

On June 13, a tropical wave formed just off the Atlantic coast of Africa and began rapidly moving toward the west. From the beginning, the system was located at a very low latitude, but was quite vigorous in its production of thunderstorm activity. Conditions were favorable for development in the low-latitude tropical Atlantic, and organization proceeded slowly over the next several days. By June 18, the wave had developed a broad circulation, but was having difficulty acquiring a well-defined center due to its rapid westward motion. The next day, a closed center was found; since gale force winds were already occurring north of the center, it was classified Tropical Storm Bret. At the time, it was centered just east of coastal Venezuela moving toward the west at a blustering 30 mph.

Early on June 20, the center of Bret crossed extreme northern Venezuela and moved into the much more hostile environment of the eastern Caribbean, where wind shear was quite high. The system's circulation, never well established, did not long survive these conditions, and Bret dissipated that same afternoon. Bret was the first known system to develop so early in the season within the low-latitude tropical Atlantic east of the Caribbean. It was also the lowest-latitude Atlantic tropical system in June since 1933.

The above image shows Tropical Storm Bret near the island of Trinidad.

Though short-lived, Bret was an unusual tropical storm. It was one of a rare class of tropical cyclones to make landfall in South America.

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