Hurricane Danny is continuing to strengthen and hold its own as it moves to the east of the Lesser Antilles in the Central Atlantic Ocean. The satellite imagery monitoring the system has indicated that the convection is more organized around the center of the circulation on Thursday morning rather than Wednesday.
Compared to other systems, Danny is still small and these types of cells are prone to sudden changes in intensity; this means that strengthening of the system as a whole is finally going to happen.
There will definitely be some dry air present around Danny for the next week, and this will be one of the few hurdles that the system will have to overcome in order to strengthen to hurricane status. Vapor imagery has detected that there is a reservoir of dry air north of Danny, and it extends westward into the Caribbean Sea where the system is currently at.
Dry air does in fact hamper tropical cyclones, as it encourages the development of stronger thunderstorm downdrafts. By then, it will either knock out the thunderstorms so they do not occur at all, or push them in another direction. The air is also very stable, which means that it will suppress upward columns of air that are essential to the maintaining of current storms or to form new thunderstorms.
Wind shear, which is the change in wind speed with height either in speed or direction, can blow the convection away from the center of a tropical system. If it is strong enough, it can even rip apart already existing tropical cyclones.
The environment has been quite hostile, as there were record mid-July through mid-August Caribbean wind shears. Hurricane Danny will remain far enough to the south over the next couple of days and will remain in an atmosphere with light wind shear.
If the atmosphere directly surrounding Danny remains at least somewhat moist, the system will more than likely become the first hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season as soon as Friday night or Saturday. As far as meteorologists can tell, Danny will move towards the west-northwest over the course of the next several days.
Computer models are forecasting that it may not reach the longitude near the eastern Caribbean Sea until Monday, so that means that there will be much more time to monitor the overall progression of the system and any changes that may occur within the time frame.
Given the fact that dry air and wind shear will be present over the eastern Caribbean Sea, it is a possibility that Danny will begin to weaken once it reaches the area of the Lesser Antilles. As a whole, it is still too early to determine if this system is going to bring any significant impacts to those islands in the long-term. Interests in the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico should continue to monitor the progress of Danny.