WEATHER BLOG: So what is an invest, anyway?

By Josh Linker, Meteorologist
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

Now that we are a couple of months into the hurricane season, you may have heard or seen the term “invest” when describing a tropical system.

“Invest,” in this case, is short for investigation. Systems in the tropics are designated as invests when they require a little more attention. An invest is a system that is presently being investigated. It enables the individual computer models to be run on those systems as well. It gives us an opportunity to look at the various models and show you the spaghetti plot specifically based on that “invest."

Invests are given names or specific numbers.  In the Atlantic Basin, they are numbered from 90L to 99L and then back to 90L.  The “L” is for Atlantic. So there will likely be more than one “Invest 90L” for example.  In the Eastern Pacific, they are Invest 90E-99E.

If an invest is close enough to land, the hurricane hunters will go out for further investigation.

What happens next? Sometimes, after investigation (whether by hurricane hunter or by satellite information), it is determined that the system has developed a low-level circulation AND a concentration of thunderstorms near or around that center. At that point, the system will be designated as a tropical depression or even a tropical storm if the estimated or observed winds are strong enough.

But just because a system is designated as an invest doesn’t mean that it will develop. More often than not, these systems end up not developing. So it is important to not get too worried when you see an invest show up on our weather graphics on Bay News 9 or here at Baynews9.com.