A recent blog post here talked about the warm sea surface temperatures over the Atlantic and Gulf, with potential impacts on the tropical season. Well, that’s changed some over the past few weeks.
Water temperatures over much of the Gulf of Mexico are now running slightly below normal. Upwelling from the past couple of tropical systems down there (Alex and TD#2) might have played a role, and perhaps even the oil disaster figures into it in some unknown way.
Meanwhile, Atlantic sea temps are running near normal close to the Southeast U.S. coast, and up to one degree above normal over the tropical waters from south of Cuba eastward. However, this warm anamoly is much smaller than it was just a few weeks ago.
It should be noted that most big tropical systems that form in mid-season (August-early September) are Atlantic-based, so warmish sea surface temperatures there still hold the potential to add pretty good fuel to storm development. Gulf systems, however, may have a harder time developing in the relatively cooler water environment there.