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National Hurricane Center says tropical depression or storm likely as system approaches Florida, Bahamas

Abaco islands

Chances of a tropical depression or storm forming soon continue to increase as a tropical wave approaches Florida.

 

It's one of two disturbances in the Atlantic worth monitoring closely over the next week to 10 days, as both have at least some chance of impacting the U.S. coast, according to Dr. Ryan Truchelut, co-founder and chief meteorologist at WeatherTiger.

 

The system north of Cuba is expected to bring heavy rain and gusty winds across Florida over the weekend.

 

The next named storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season will be Humberto.

 

Another tropical depression could form early next week out of another tropical wave west of Africa.

 

Tropical depression or storm possible soon as wave approaches Florida, Bahamas

Satellite images indicate the area of disturbed weather over the central and southeastern Bahamas is gradually becoming better organized, while surface pressures are falling in the area. Conditions are becoming favorable for a tropical depression or a tropical storm to form within the next day or so as the system moves toward the northwest through the northwestern Bahamas and toward the Florida Peninsula at 5 to 10 mph.

 

If this development trend continues, potential tropical cyclone advisories will likely be initiated later today.

 

This disturbance will bring heavy rainfall and gusty winds across portions of the Bahamas through Friday, especially in portions of the northwestern Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

 

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system this afternoon, if necessary.

 

This disturbance will likely produce periods of locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds across the Bahamas through Friday, and across Florida during the weekend.

 

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system this afternoon, if necessary.

 

Formation chance through 48 hours: medium, 70 percent. Formation chance through 5 days: high, 80 percent. Designated as Invest 95L, the wave is expected to bring heavy and widespread thunderstorms to the southern Bahamas today and heavier downpours to the northern islands Friday.

 

While storm coverage is expected to be isolated, any downpour can impact recovery efforts in Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

95L looks to then move toward Florida and into an environment more favorable for tropical development, according to AccuWeather meteorologists. Wind shear will lessen across the eastern Gulf of Mexico, where sea surface temperatures are in the middle to upper 80s Fahrenheit.

 

"Once that wind shear relaxes, this system is going to strengthen," said AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno.

 

"Its proximity to the Florida Peninsula as we get into Friday and Saturday should prevent this system from wrapping up quickly," Rayno said.

 

The threat of downpours looks to shift farther west through the end of the weekend and into early next week as 95L may track toward the central Gulf Coast.

 

"Should 95L develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm, a more concentrated area of heavy rain and significant flooding would be possible near the point of landfall along the central or eastern Gulf Coast," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty.

 

Regardless of tropical development, 95L can bring locally heavy downpours and an increased risk of flash flooding to Florida and the central Gulf Coast this weekend and into the beginning of next week.

 

What can Florida expect from the tropical wave?

 

Odds are increasing that a tropical depression or tropical storm develops prior to reaching southern Florida early in the weekend — and my guess is one does, said Truchelut.

 

The precise track is immaterial here, as the main impacts on the Florida peninsula, even if the system becomes Tropical Storm Humberto, will be at least 2 to 5 inches of rainfall.

 

The steering environment and the structure of Invest 95L both closely resemble Tropical Storm Gordon, which developed over the Keys and crossed the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coasts with 70 mph winds early last September, Truchelut said.

 

Like Gordon, Invest 95L is expected to arc west-northwest to northwest across the eastern Gulf Sunday and Monday. Exactly how long the disturbance has over the Gulf depends on whether the surface circulation consolidates farther north (less time) or south (more time) over the next few days.

 

At this stage, 95L is certainly worth watching from central Louisiana to the Big Bend. Though model reflections of this system in the Gulf are mostly weak, that doesn’t preclude further strengthening if the disturbance ends up having sufficient time to organize.

 

Another tropical wave could become depression next week

 

A tropical wave located several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms.

 

Conditions appear conducive for development, and a tropical depression could form early next week while the system moves westward over the tropical Atlantic.

 

Formation chance through 48 hours: low, near 0 percent. Formation chance through 5 days: medium, 40 percent. High wind shear over the central Atlantic will gradually weaken as the tropical wave continues on its westerly track.

 

"If a low-level circulation center can become established within this system, it might become an organized tropical system as it moves into the eastern Caribbean early next week," said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

 

This wave is likely to become better organized by early next week on approach to the Lesser Antilles, and may well intensify further in the western Caribbean or southwestern Atlantic by the end of next week, said Truchelut.

 

Overall, we are much too far out to discuss specific tracks or threats from this possible system. Models, even good ones, don’t handle potential hurricanes skillfully eight or 10 days ahead of time, he added. However, guidance is in solid agreement on strong, high-latitude ridging being centered over the U.S. East Coast in the middle of next week — something models can predict well.

 

Historically, this is a steering current regime associated with elevated hurricane risks to the Southeast or Gulf Coasts.

 

Given the potential for a front to push east out of the Plains in roughly 10 days, the fate of this system could wind up being yet another question of pattern change timing, and thus a thorny forecast, Truchelut said.

Original story from floridatoday