Tropical storm expected to form in Gulf by Tuesday

Update 5 p.m. The National Hurricane Center expects tropical depression 9 to become a tropical storm by Tuesday as it makes a turn to the north-northwest in the Gulf of Mexico.

The depression has winds of 35 mph, just 4 mph below what’s needed to become a tropical storm.

“Given the current forecast, a tropical storm or hurricane watch may be require for a portion of the Florida Gulf coast as early as tomorrow morning,” hurricane center forecasters wrote in their 5 p.m. update.

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A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of North Carolina as tropical depression eight heads toward the coast with better organization.

The cyclone is expected to slow down tomorrow and start moving north, but could still swipe the Outer Banks with tropical storm force winds and high surf.

“Due to the close pass of the cyclone to the Outer Banks, a tropical storm warning has been issued for the coast of North Carolina from Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet, including Pimlico Sound,” forecasters wrote in the 5 p.m. advisory.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 24 hours.

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The Atlantic basin burst to life Sunday with the National Hurricane Center now watching three tropical cyclones.

  • Tropical Depression 8 is off the coast of North Carolina and could become a tropical storm as it moves closer to the Outer Banks on Tuesday.
  • Tropical Depression 9 is the former Invest 99-L that southeast Florida was watching closely last week. The system is moving into the eastern Gulf of Mexico and is expected to take a right turn into the Big Bend area of the state as a tropical storm.
  • Hurricane Gaston is the first major hurricane of the season, but is not expected to impact land.
  • two_atl_2d0Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

This is the first time since 2013 that three active tropical cyclones were in the Atlantic, according to Phil Klotzbach, hurricane researcher with Colorado State University.

There have been no major changes as of the 11 a.m. advisory, although tropical depression nine could become a tropical storm within the next 12 hours.

Tropical depression nine, which was the long-watched 99-L, was spinning through the Florida Straits this morning with 35 mph winds and could become a tropical storm later today, the National Hurricane Center said at its 5 a.m. advisory.

The system is sodden with rain and is expected to dump 3 to 4 inches over extreme South Florida and the Florida Keys through Wednesday.

Isolated areas could get up to 7 inches of rain.

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Tropical depression nine, which is on a track that takes it through Tampa and the Big Bend region on Thursday, will produce thunderstorms and squally rain in Palm Beach County, especially along the coast.

But, Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground and a former NOAA Hurricane Hunter, said the storm hasn’t finished “perplexing us yet.”

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

“The model predictions for the future intensity of the storm remain wildly divergent, even if we now have growing confidence that this storm will track into the coast of Florida north of Tampa on Thursday,” Masters wrote in his blog. “I support a forecast of TD 9 being a strong tropical storm near hurricane strength at landfall—70 mph winds—until the models come into better alignment.”

Tropical Depression eight is 230 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and moving west-northwest at 10 mph.

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The next tropical storm will earn the name Hermine. Following Hermine is Ian. 

A tropical storm watch is in effect for the coast of North Carolina from Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet. More watches and warnings may be added later today. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area within 48 hours.

The system is forecast to reach maximum sustained winds of 45 mph by Wednesday.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter that flew into the system this morning found that it remained a weak cyclone as it continued northwest at 9 mph, according to a special 8 a.m. update.

 

 

Hurricane Gaston became the first major hurricane of 2016 Sunday, ramping up to 115 mph winds as it swirls 575 miles east of Bermuda.

While no threat to land, Gaston has remained a long-lived hurricane, with a central pressure of 960 mb.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from its center, with tropical storm force winds extending up to 140 miles.

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