By: Cary Williams
TAMPA – A large low pressure system off the South Florida coast has a good chance of growing stronger during the next day or two and could eventually turn toward the state, according the the National Hurricane Center.
The system is moving toward the northeast at about 15 mph and will likely make “a gradual turn back toward the west on Saturday,” according to the latest NHC advisory. “Interests along the southeastern United States coast should closely monitor the progress of this system.”
The low pressure area has a high chance – 70 percent – of developing into a tropical or subtropical cyclone within the next two days.
Another special tropical outlook will be issued later today.
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The National Hurricane Center has raised the chances that the tropical wave named 97L will develop into a depression or tropical storm. This afternnoon NHC is giving it a 60% chance of development. This percentage refers to the probability that the wave will become a tropical storm with at least 39 mph winds within the next 48 hours.
The wave is beginning to get better organized. As it moves west-northwestward into an environment of low sheer, further development into a depression or tropical storms is likely. The wave is moving to the WNW at about 10 mph which could put it in the Bahamas and near south Florida by Friday. A hurricane hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the area on Wednesday.
Most models have not forecasted development of this system until recent runs. The NAM has been predicting a closed low system for some time now, however the GFS model has just come around with a closed low feature. A third model, the European (ECMWF), still brings the system through the Florida Straights as a open wave, or weaker system, this weekend. So far forecasters have leaned toward this weaker solution, but there are now trends toward a more robust system.
The system has been producing heavy rainfall across the Virgin Islands and the eastern half of Puerto Rico over the past few days. The next few days will likely bring flooding rains to parts of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, eventually the Bahamas.
We are expecting to see scattered showers and storms this weekend if it passes by in it’s current form. If it does develop further, the timing, structure and intensity forecasts will likely change affecting our weekend forecast. Stay tuned to www.10connects.com and our Tropical Weather page for the latest updates.
Meteorologist Bobby Deskins