Eye on the Tropics

Hurricane Fiona to send big waves, strong rip current threat to Florida east coast

ORLANDO, Fla. — There is an increased threat that a tropical storm or hurricane could form in the Caribbean as soon as this weekend.

See forecast updates below:


9:30 p.m. update

The tropics continue to stay active tonight, but it’s waves from Hurricane Fiona to monitor on the coast, Channel 9 Certified Chief Meteorologist Tom Terry said.

Invest 98 will also be worth watching into early next week as it travels into the northwest Caribbean and approaches the southern Gulf, Terry said.

5:30 p.m. update

Channel 9 chief meteorologist Tom Terry said Hurricane Fiona is expected to strengthen as it moves north away from Florida’s east coast.

As it continues up the coast, Terry said the storm will send 6 to 9-foot waves to east coast beaches as well as high rip current threats.

Terry is also tracking Invest 98, a system that is likely to develop by this weekend and early next week. He said it could become a hurricane in the northwest Caribbean.

11:30 a.m. update

Channel 9 meteorologist Rusty McCranie said there is now a 90% chance that a tropical cyclone will form from the disturbance in the Caribbean.

“Currently, it’s a broad, sheared system, and models have a very hard time depicting with any skill where something that’s as weak as this currently is will move,” McCranie said.

Meanwhile, as of 11 a.m., Hurricane Fiona has winds holding at 130 mph. The powerful Category 4 storm is moving away from the Bahamas and will have a close enough approach to Bermuda to at least bring tropical storm conditions to the island.

Read: Kissimmee church hosts donation drive to help Puerto Rico following impact of Hurricane Fiona

Original report:

Channel 9 meteorologist Brian Shields said the system could quickly develop into a tropical storm as it enters the central Caribbean. The next named storm will be Hermine.

He said it could be just south of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands as it strengthens into a hurricane.

“All areas along the Gulf of Mexico, including Florida, should monitor the progress of this system,” Shields said.


The system is forecast to stay south of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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