On the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall along the Gulf Coast (August 29,2005), tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic is intensifying. Fueled by warm ocean temperatures, a series of consecutive storms have formed in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (the area between Africa and the Caribbean). Hurricanes Danielle and Earl have intensified into major hurricane strength (Category 3+), another system is following in Earl's wake. The National Hurricane Center estimates a 90% chance that this system will intensify into a tropical storm. If so, it would be #6 of the season, named Fiona. And yet another storm system seems to be just behind.
Using Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential data from NOAA/AOML, the amount of heat energy available to fuel hurricane intensification is plotted underneath a GOES-East image from 1445z. Earl is moving over an extremely warm area of ocean water and is expected to intensify as it moves northward along a path similar to Danielle.