National Hurricane Center forecasters expect the weather system they’re calling a “tropical disturbance” to move over the Bahamas today and turn into Tropical Storm Humberto either later today or overnight, then head for a path up or near the Florida coast.
While the current cone encompasses all of northeast Florida, the path of the storm still has a considerable degree of uncertainty. The European model of forecasting that has proven consistently more accurate than the American model–and that the National Hurricane Center has tracked with about a 12 to 24-hour lag–is showing the path of the storm pulling off to sea much as Hurricane Dorian did (and as the European model predicted for that storm).
“We have this strange thing called the potential tropical cyclone number nine,” Jonathan Lord, Flagler’s emergency management chief, said this morning on WNZF. “What that is, is the hurricane center is very confident that it will be a tropical cyclone or depression or storm very soon, and it’s so close to our coastline that they want to call it something in advance of when they’d normally would. So my expectation is later today at a bare minimum we’ll see Tropical Depression Number 9 named, or named as Tropical Storm Humberto–the silent h–is the most likely possibility. The counties to our south are already under a tropical storm watch, starts literally at the Flagler-Volusia line and heads south for three or four counties.”
Lord said Flagler is “very likely to see tropical storm type impacts all day on Saturday and maybe a little bit into Sunday morning. We’re expecting probably sustained, low-end tropical storm force winds, so less than 54 miles an hour or so, maybe some gusts higher. We’re not looking at a significant storm surge. We may have some minor flooding with this. So we’re not looking to do any evacuations as it sits at this current forecast. Now, we do want people to be well aware of this, to be prepared., For those who have patio furniture and loose items outside, it’s definitely the time to put those away again. Maybe they didn’t get taken back out since Dorian anyway, so it’s good to put those things away so they don’t become projectiles, and for folks to be aware of this approaching storm event.”
The tropical storm watch currently extends to Jupiter inlet. The heavy rainfall potential has shifted to coastal locations for this weekend and early next week, with further adjustments possible based on the track of the storm.
This morning the storm was moving slowly northwest, at 6 mph, with maximum winds of just 30 mph.
The National Hurricane Center this morning acknowledged the differing forecast models, paying heed to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, or ECMWF: “The track guidance indicates that the disturbance will move generally northwestward for 48 h or so, followed by a turn to the north and eventually to the northeast as the system moves through the weakness in the ridge,” the center stated. ” There is some spread in the guidance, with the GFS model taking a weaker system into the Florida peninsula while the UKMET and ECMWF models show a stronger cyclone farther offshore. Overall, there has been an eastward shift of the guidance since the previous advisory, especially after 72 h. The new forecast track is thus also nudged a little to the east and now calls for the system to spend less time over the Florida peninsula than previously forecast.”
The previous update is below.
Should You Be Worried About the Next Tropical Disturbance? ‘Considerable Uncertainty’ Grids All Florida
That’s why they call it peak hurricane season. Many Flagler and Florida residents aren’t yet done wiping their brows Hurricane Dorian’s week-long anxieties, or finding ways to help residents of the Bahamas recover. But the National Hurricane Center is tracking so-called “Tropical Disturbance Invest 95L,” now southeast of the Bahamas, and placing the chance at 80 percent that the system will turn into a tropical storm or depression within the next five days, and a 70 percent chance that it will do so in the next 48 hours.
Its track’s cone of uncertainty now includes almost all of Florida except western portions of the Panhandle–just as Dorian had at various points in its indecisive whirl earlier this month.
“There is now considerable uncertainty with regards to the future movement of Invest 95L, and this disturbance may directly threaten our region by late in the weekend,” Ben Nelson of the National Weather Service in Jacksonville said this morning. He published his morning briefing at 6 a.m. At the time, the system had a 70 percent chance of turning into a tropical storm. That chance was bumped up to 80 percent two hours later, with the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. report.
“Tropical development is expected by Friday or the weekend as this disturbance moves slowly northwestward towards south Florida,” Nelson reported. He is forecasting a high risk of deadly rip currents starting Friday as breezy onshore winds persist and surf builds, and the potential “for at least minor tidal flooding” increasing along the Florida Atlantic coast and the St. Johns basin over the weekend. “Heavy rainfall potential this weekend and early next week, with amounts highly dependent on the track of Invest 95L.” (An “invest” is a weather system of special interest to the National Hurricane Center’s analysts, not the precursor of a name. The next named tropical storm on the list is either Humberto or Imelda. Gabrielle formed into an organized storm last week but veered north in the middle Atlantic and dissipated. The remains of Dorian are actually still active just northeast of Newfoundland, and heading east, south of Greenland, as a subtropical depression, as you can see from this NHC track.)
Regarding this weekend’s outlook, most of Flagler County was in the 3 to 4 inch range for rainfalls, with the northeast quadrant of the county in the 4 to 6 inch range, though all that could change as the storm moves. The system is currently moving at 5 to 10 mph, straight for areas already devastated by Dorian. “This disturbance will bring heavy rainfall and gusty winds across portions of the Bahamas through Friday, especially in portions of the northwestern Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian,” the NHC reports.
That’s not all. The center is also tracking a “tropical wave” west of the Cabo Verde Islands. “Conditions appear conducive for development, and a tropical
depression could form early next week while the system moves westward over the tropical Atlantic,” the center states, with chances for formation at 40 percent over the next five days.
See the Jacksonville National Weather Service station’s latest briefing on the storm below.