INDIANAPOLIS — The tropics suddenly came alive last weekend with three named storms forming in a single day.

Early hurricane season brought four named storms, with the last one, Don, forming on July 14. Since then, we hadn’t had another storm until just this past weekend, when Emily, Franklin and Gert all formed within a 24-hour period.

That’s only the third time on record so many storms formed in such a short amount of time.

So what was going on in the weeks before? Well, we’ve had a lot of Saharan dust spreading across the tropical Atlantic, which makes the air drier and isn’t conducive to storm development.

And this dust is driven by very strong trade winds that are blowing all that dust off the coast of Africa. Those winds create a lot of wind shear — and these essentially topple over thunderstorms.

This is the time in the season we typically start to see these conditions change, and that’s exactly what’s happening. The Saharan dust has been lightening up and that means more moist air, leading to a more conducive environment for storm development for the tropical waves coming off the African coastline.

Also, a major part of the quick uptick in activity is the record warmth we’re seeing in the Atlantic. Record warmth was recorded in the Gulf in early August, and warmth aids in rapid intensification of storm development.

In other words, these waves have a lot of fuel waiting for them.

The peak of hurricane season comes September 10th, still several weeks away, but the season runs until the end of November. Forecasters are predicting an above-average season this year, but it’s something we’ll have to watch.

We’re switching into an El Niño pattern, and these conditions can lead to high wind shear being driven into the Atlantic basin, which, as mentioned, aren’t good for thunderstorm development. However, the extremely warm Atlantic waters may be enough to counteract this.