What Does "Invest" Mean With Tropical Weather?

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An invest may morph into a hurricane or cyclone.
An invest may morph into a hurricane or cyclone. (Image: hurricane clouds, background image by JoLin from Fotolia.com)

Meteorologists utilize the term "invest" when a weather system begins to materialize and raise red flags, even though this system may be no more likely than any other system to transform into a hurricane or cyclone.

Identification

A tropical invest denotes a weather system--a potential development area--that has drawn the attention of a forecast authority like the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) or the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). This interest spurs the gathering of specific data like microwave imagery and the running of model guidance.

Effects

Various entities become involved upon the designation of a system as an invest. “Data collection and processing is initiated on a number of government and academic web sites, including the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies,” says the National Hurricane Center.

Invest Names

In his book "Hurricane Almanac," author Bryan Norcross says that the NHC names all invests, beginning with a number then a letter. Numbers run from 90 to 99, then return to 90, with storm systems in the Atlantic given the designation "L," eastern Pacific storms receiving an "E," and those in the central Pacific, south of Hawaii, dubbed "C." For example, Invest 92E would signify a system in the eastern Pacific.

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