An "invest" is an area that meteorologists are investigating in case it develops into a more severe storm.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
The KSLA Stormtracker 12 Weather Team is monitoring a tropical disturbance out over the Atlantic Ocean.
It's not organized or strong enough to be classified as a Tropical Depression (winds less than 39 mph) or a Tropical Storm (winds 39 mph or stronger), but it does have a designation that you may have never heard of before.
Invest 96-L. What exactly does that mean?
“Invest” is just short for “investigation” or “investigative” area. It means that it has caught the eye of meteorologists as having the potential to grow into something more with time.
Our friends at the National Hurricane Center are monitoring it, making preparations to collect data from it and they are feeding that data into the tropical computer forecast models to get a better idea of how it may develop over time.
In fact, the NHC already sent a hurricane hunter aircraft to the disturbance today to do just that. They may send another one tomorrow.
Invests are numbered between 90 and 99. The enumeration is often repeated multiple times over the course of a typical hurricane season. The “L” is used for disturbances that develop over the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The “E”is used for disturbances in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
If you do the math, Invest 96-L is the seventh such disturbance this season. Another quick calculation will show that we have only had two named storms so far - Hurricane Arthur and Hurricane Bertha.
So there are often many tropical disturbances that are monitored but never develop into an actual storm.
The NHC issues forecasts for the probability that an “invest” will develop into a tropical cyclone. Right now Invest 96-L has been given a 60 percent chance to develop into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm within the next 48 hours.
There is an 80 percent chance that development will happen in the next five days. That means there's a pretty good chance we could be talking about "Cristobal" in a few days.