I'll agree with that statement about the ridge, HF. By their nature, with cooler than normal surface conditions, you're promoting the development of that subtropical ridge. Any sort of organized convection you can get going south of it is going to help things along too -- heat release from convection/outflow promotes that development too. (Info provided moreso for everyone else's general knowledge.)
As we saw in 2004, the operational models did a pretty poor job of representing the subtropical ridge & its strength. I asked a couple of the tropical modelers from the Natl. Center for Env. Prediction (NCEP; where they design/run the GFS model, among others) about this and if anything had been done to understand the cause of the errors or attempt to fix them; their reply to me was that they did not know of any problems in representing the ridge last season. I'll leave that bit for you all to chew on.
Anyway, with the current conditions with a ridge across the subtropics -- including much of the SE U.S. -- the warming temperatures (near 90 in spots now) are going to warm those shallow waters near-shore pretty quickly. We'll probably be near-normal before the end of the month if the current pattern holds to a reasonable degree. Anomalies aren't quite as extreme in the central Atlantic, though any small amount may play a non-insignificant role in TC formation/track, but these too will likely warm once we get into the season. Still surprising to see warmer-than-normal conditions across much of the tropics; if we get the jet to move out of the region over the next month or so, we may get something out east of the islands in late June/early July.
I agree, though; it's not a great scenario to be looking at right now. Last thing we need is anything close to 2004. 1995 wouldn't be a bad year, come to think of it -- lots of storms but lots of fish spinners (minus Opal and, to some degree, Luis/Marilyn).
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