A tropical disturbance in the Central Bahamas is developing, and it could become a tropical storm by this weekend. For now, the National Hurricane Center has labeled this area as "Potential Tropical Cyclone 9" to be able to issue any needed advisories. This new labeling does not mean it strengthened or organized better, the NHC just does this for internal classification and be able to formally issue watches and advisories to nearby areas that could be threatened. Hurricane hunters are scheduled to investigate this area later on Thursday afternoon.
PTC9 could become better organized, possibly becoming Tropical Storm Humberto -- and having it near Florida (or even just east) this weekend.
Tropical storm watches are now in effect from the Volusia/Brevard line south to Jupiter.
"Steering currents and thus forecast models show this moving NW and closer to our coast late on Saturday," chief meteorologist Tom Terry said.
11pm THURSDAY: #PTC9 still expected to become #Humberto and move NW through the Bahamas to near our east coast late Saturday. Tropical storm watches are up south of the Volusia/Brevard county line down to Jupiter. #EyeonTropics pic.twitter.com/3HiqmhBbEA— tom terry (@TTerryWFTV) September 13, 2019
This system has a high chance of becoming organized as it approaches the Florida Straits. The waters just south of the Bahamas and around the Florida Keys are between 86- and 89-degrees Fahrenheit. This is premium fuel for a tropical system. Waters over the northwestern Bahamas are in the low 80s after Dorian, as the hurricane caused a lot of upwelling, cooling the water slightly.
What is preventing this area of disturbed weather in the short term from developing is wind shear, as it cuts off the natural development cycle of a tropical system.
Regardless of development, we can expect high rain chances starting Friday. Much of Central Florida will receive measurable rain and more instability and moisture will arrive over the weekend.
“The rain chance hinges on where this goes, and because this is a system that hasn't even developed yet, that is up in the air. But this is a ‘close to home’ system and can develop rather quickly (with no clearly defined course yet) - so it needs to be paid close attention to,” meteorologist Brian Shields said.
This system will develop further. Please pay attention to it, since it is developing close to home. I’m tracking it now on Channel 9. pic.twitter.com/UGhq0p8eET— Brian Shields (@BrianShieldsTV) September 12, 2019
What’s next in the tropics?
Models and weather patterns are giving a hint to an uptick for the possibility of tropical development during the last week of September into the first week of October. The Madden-Julian Oscillation is an energy wave that travels around the globe toward the east. This planetary wave propagates sinking or rising air.
Tropical systems need rising air to keep their natural cycle. Models show rising air increasing across the Atlantic basin by the end of September. This is just an ingredient needed in the tropical recipe. We will have to wait to see where the tropical waves set up, the water conditions where they travel, Saharan dust, dry air and wind shear in a specific area. Stay informed and keep your hurricane plans handy. During this time of the year, there are several tropical waves emerging from Africa.
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