Hurricane Matthew Isle of Palms (copy) (copy)

David Reedy of North Carolina wades in surging ocean water from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 during low tide on Isle of Palms. The waves bowled over boardwalks at high tide and continued eroding sand dunes as the tide subsided. File/Andrew Knapp/Staff

Wake up. The tropics have.

On Thursday night or Friday morning a thunderstorm will roll off the west African coast and start to spin, according to computer forecasts. Four days later, another storm will start to whirl in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida and move toward landfall in the United States as a possible hurricane.

After a sleepy start, the hurricane season has arrived. The environment is getting more conducive for a tropical storm or hurricane to form, said Mark Malsick, S.C. Climate Office severe weather liaison.

"Over the next six weeks, we will see a steady parade of strong tropical waves emerging from the coast of Africa, and some of these waves will be capable of acting as the seeds for the most dangerous type of Atlantic hurricanes — the Cape Verde storms," said meteorologist Jeff Masters with the private company Weather Underground.

It's been a weirdly quiet season so far after a few years of relentless storms. No hurricanes have formed in August and no real threats emerged in July.

The seas are now warming up enough to fuel the storms, the winds have changed and the dusty air that has choked storms from forming is now settling in the east Atlantic. Off South Carolina, conditions could help or hamper any approaching storm.

"We are historically in the heightened period of activity of the hurricane season, which peaks on Sept. 10. Every tropical wave is worth monitoring," said Charleston-based meteorologist Shea Gibson, with the private company WeatherFlow.

For now, no storms or forecasts show any threat to the Southeast U.S. coast. The long-range computer work-ups of the storm about to come off Africa suggest it will turn north in the mid-Atlantic and stay far from landfall on the East Coast. But it's too far out to say what influences would allow it to develop and hold, Gibson said.

"There's nothing remotely tropically related threatening to South Carolina at the present time," Malsick said. But, "the next two to three weeks could get interesting."

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Reach Bo Petersen Reporter at Facebook, @bopete on Twitter or 1-843-937-5744.

Science and environment reporter. Author of Washing Our Hands in the Clouds.

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