Central & Western Caribbean Tropical Development Is Likely Late This Weekend & Early Next Week
A large and strong looking tropical disturbance is now just moving across the Lesser Antilles and will be pushing into the eastern Caribbean over the next 24 hours or so. Analysis reveals that there seems to be already a mid-level circulation associated with this disturbance & I think that once it moves into an environment of lower wind shear this weekend in the central Caribbean we should see it develop into a tropical system.
All-in-all, I think that there is at least a 90 percent chance that we will see the development of a tropical storm and then a hurricane in the central and western Caribbean between Sunday and Tuesday.
Beyond this, the big question will be where exactly will this tropical system track. The model guidance seems to be split in that the operational models, such as the GFS, Canadian and European models show an eventual landfall in Central America later next week.
The ensemble model guidance, on the other hand, shows a very different scenario in that a large number of members of the GFS ensemble and European ensemble models forecast an eventual turn to the northwest and north leading to a threat to the Cayman Islands, Cuba and Florida late next week into next weekend. It seems that the ensemble members that forecast a very strong storm show the turn to the northwest and north while the members that show a much weaker system forecast a westward track into Central America.
Here Are My Thoughts On The Potential Track: I still think that it is way too soon to determine where this potential tropical storm or hurricane will ultimately go. I do think that there are at least 3 scenarios:
The first scenario is that a high pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico, Florida and the southwestern North Atlantic will push this system westward into Central America late next week.
The second scenario is that this tropical system hangs around the western and northwestern Caribbean for a few days later next week before it gets picked up by a trough of low pressure passing to the north and sent northward. This would lead to impacts to Cuba, parts of the Florida Peninsula and the Bahamas next weekend.
A third scenario is for this system to to be pulled northeastward and sent across Jamaica, eastern Cuba and the southeastern Bahamas by a stronger trough of low pressure later next week and next weekend.
Bottom line is that I urge everyone on the island of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula to closely watch the progress of this system as you may be impacted first. In addition, those of you on the island of Cuba, the Florida Peninsula and the Bahamas should also keep close tabs on the progress of this system.
USA National Hurricane Center:
A large area of disturbed weather in the vicinity of the Lesser Antilles is associated with a tropical wave. Upper-level winds are expected to become more conducive for development of this disturbance during the next couple of days, and a tropical depression could form over the weekend or early next week while the system moves westward across the central and western Caribbean Sea.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...20 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...medium...60 percent.
Even the latest sleepers among us can agree that—when they happen to get up and catch it, anyway—sunrise is one of the most special times of the day. Caught this one just in time before the skyline changed over our Corozal Bay this morning. Photo by the Corozal Daily