Jeff Masters late last night:
The moderate wind shear and warm waters should allow for some development of 96L over the next few days, though this will be slowed by the dry air to the storm's east, and perhaps by proximity to the land areas of Nicaragua and Honduras. The models are less enthusiastic today about developing 96L into a tropical depression than they were yesterday. The ECMWF no longer predicts development, and the GFS and NOGAPS predict only weak development before 96L moves ashore over Honduras on Tuesday. On Wednesday, a strong trough of low pressure will be passing over the Eastern U.S., and this trough has the potential to turn 96L northwards into Western Cuba. This is more likely to happen if 96L is stronger and deeper, and thus able to "feel" the upper-level winds the trough will bring. The UKMET model predicts 96L will develop into a tropical storm that moves through the Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico on Thursday. If 96L remains a weak and shallow system, though, it is more likely to stay trapped in the Western Caribbean and make landfall in Nicaragua or Honduras. NHC gave 96L a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday in their 8 am Tropical Weather Outlook today. The hurricane hunter mission scheduled for today was cancelled due to the lack of development of 96L; the mission has been re-scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
We continue to watch a low pressure center in the southwest Caribbean Sea. It is located roughly 150 miles east-southeast of the Honduras and Nicaragua border. Satellite imagery continues to show robust yet disorganized shower and thunderstorm development associated with this low pressure center. This feature will continue to slowly move off to the north or northwest over the next 12 to 24 hours, so it should remain offshore over the warm waters of the western Caribbean.
An upper-level trough of low pressure will sink to the southeast across the northern Gulf of Mexico today, then across Florida on Monday. We think this will steer the tropical low on a more northward and eventually northwestward track across the Caribbean early this week.
The waters of the northwest Caribbean have a deep warm layer which is favorable for organization and intensification. If the shear remains light aloft over the northwest Caribbean, and this system gets over these deep warm waters, we could see a tropical storm develop at the least.
However, one limiting factor will be a lot of dry air perched over the Gulf of Mexico that could get drawn into the circulation and slow the process down. Later this week, a strong upper-level trough associated with a cold front will deepen across Texas toward the Gulf of Mexico and we feel this will help to steer the tropical cyclone to the north and east during the latter half of the week. This movement would bring any potential tropical system or at the very least its moisture northeastward across Florida, Cuba or the Bahamas during the last half of the week.
Note by editor: "We could see a Tropical Storm at the least." Doesn't sound like it's going to be super strong AT THIS POINT.