Eyes on the Tropics, Two Systems to Watch – Friday 2:15 a.m.

Another night up checking in late on the tropics has turned up more developments. Ernesto is downgraded to a Tropical Depression, Tropical Depression 7 continues to make westward progress toward the Caribbean and Invest 93 has formed just off the coast of Africa. We have a lot to cover this morning but it’s definitely worth your time. We’ll go from newest to oldest.
Invest 93 is a tropical wave accompanied by a low pressure area located over the eastern Atlantic between the Cape Verde Islands and Africa. The associated shower activity is showing signs of organization this morning and conditions appear to be conducive for this system to develop into a tropical depression as it moves west to west-northwestward at around 15 mph. The National Hurricane Center gives this system a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours. As I take a look at the latest models this system appears to be headed north of the Caribbean islands and toward the east coast of Florida. Of course, I can’t sit here and say that it will impact Florida but it is headed in that general direction. The map to the right is the latest set of model forecast tracks for Invest 93.


As with most tropical systems this time of year it is likely that Invest 93 will eventually make a right turn and could possibly stay in the open Atlantic. It is all dependent on where the high pressure develops and weakens across the Atlantic as the system approaches. As we saw with Ernesto, the high pressure stayed fairly well intact and Ernesto, being a tropical low pressure system, stayed relatively weak and therefore followed the path of least resistance which took it into Mexico. There is still a lot of time between now and when 93 could possibly impact the U.S. The map to the left is the latest models forecasting the potential strength of 93.

All but one current models being calculated have 93 becoming a tropical storm within 24 hours and a category 1 hurricane within 96 hours. We will have to watch this system very closely because it has the potential to become a large hurricane. So, we’ve covered Invest 93, now on to Tropical Depression 7 which is moving faster and faster toward the Caribbean. The latest update that came out at 10 pm CDT has maximum sustained winds at 35 mph which is only 4 mph less than a Tropical Storm, so it is very possible that 7 could become Tropical Storm Gordon later today. The nest update from the NHC will be issued at 4am. The official forecast path has not been updated since the latest models runs which are now trending toward 7 making a right turn in the next 2-3 days. We will see what the forecasters at the NHC have to say when the next forecast is issued in a couple of hours.

What we do anticipate is Tropical Depression 7 becoming Tropical Storm Gordon within the next 12 to 24 hours. The general trend is toward 7 strengthening to a tropical storm sometime between now and noon CDT. The National Hurricane Center is scheduled to issue advisories at 4am and 10am so it is likely that we won’t see a tropical storm named before that 10am advisory. Regardless of the timing of that, forecast models are predicting that 7 will become a hurricane in its life cycle. I will go ahead and say that this is very dependent on the track of 7. If the models on the fringe of the cone of uncertainty are more right then 7 will have a better chance of becoming a category 1 hurricane or more. If the middle track models are correct it will be very hard for 7 to strengthen too much because these models have it going over the island of Hispanola, which is extremely mountainous and that would likely tear the storm apart or at least weaken it greatly. The other models show 7 staying over water for the most part. The official intensity forecast shows the system taking 24 hours to become a tropical storm and then another 4 days to become a hurricane. That forecast shows 7 reaching hurricane strength in the central Caribbean. As of this hour that is the extreme end of the forecast range and we can only speculate as to where 7 will be headed at that time. Needless to say, we are keeping both eyes on the tropics for potential impact here in Alabama.

We’ve talked about the two systems that still have potential to affect us here, I also want to mention now Tropical Depression Ernesto. An advisory was issued at 1am CDT downgrading Ernesto to a depression with 35 mph winds. The official forecast has Ernesto weakening to a tropical low sometime after 7am CDT, in fact they have not listed a forecast track past that hour. The next two names on the list are Gordon and Helene and it is very possible that we could see those storms form some time today. We’ll definitely be watching and updating you right here on the weather blog and of course Chief Meteorologist Richard Scott will have the latest tonight on WVUA News at 4, 5, 6, & 10. Have a great morning!

Daniel Sparkman
WVUA Weather

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