11 p.m. UPDATE: A disturbance off the Central American coast is likely to grow into a tropical storm that could bring heavy rains and flooding to parts of Mexico, Cuba and the U.S. Gulf coast, the National Hurricane Center says.
Forecasters said Tropical Storm Michael is likely to form Sunday night and could reach the Gulf coast by Wednesday. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the western tip of Cuba, while a tropical storm watch has been called for the resort region of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and the disturbance is expected to become a tropical depression on Sunday and a tropical storm on Sunday night. There’s an 80 percent chance of formation within 48 hours and 90 percent chance over the next 5 days.
On the forecast track, the center of the disturbance should move near the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico tonight through Sunday night, and then move into the southern Gulf of Mexico on Monday.
Environmental conditions are favorable for a tropical depression or tropical storm to form over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday or Monday as the system moves slowly northward.
If the area of low pressure becomes a tropical storm, it would be named Michael.
The disturbance will bring torrential rains to part of Central America, the Yucatan peninsula and western Cuba into next week. Formation chance within the next five days is high at 90 percent.
Rain chances in Palm Beach County will increase on Monday to 50 percent, and raise even higher to 60 percent on Wednesday. Temperatures will be consistent with highs in the upper 80s and lows in the upper 70s, according to the National Weather Service.
11 p.m. UPDATE: The broad area of low pressure over the southwestern Caribbean now has a 30 percent chance of formation through five days.
It’s producing numerous showers and thunderstorms extending from Central America eastward through Hispaniola, according to the latest Tropical Weather Outlook from the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Leslie is approaching hurricane status in the middle of the Atlantic, no threat to land. At 11 p.m., Leslie was about 510 miles east-southeast of Bermuda with top sustained winds around 70 mph.
Leslie is forecast to become a hurricane tonight or early Wednesday.
8 p.m. UPDATE: The remnants of Tropical Storm Kirk are likely to redevelop into a tropical cyclone during the next day or two before it moves into an area of highly unfavorable upper-level winds as it approaches the Caribbean, according to the latest Tropical Weather Outlook from the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
At 8 p.m., the remnants were about 750 miles east of the Windward Islands and moving quickly westward at 20-25 mph. Chance of tropical formation in the next 48 hours was 70 percent.
Meanwhile, off the coast of North Carolina, a low pressure area still has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical system. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft reported that the circulation has become better defined but the associated showers and thunderstorms remain disorganized.
UPDATE 12:17 p.m.: Kirk lost its center circulation this morning, meaning it no longer fits the definition of a tropical cyclone.
The National Hurricane Center is no longer issuing advisories on the system, but its remnants will be monitored as it moves toward the Lesser Antilles.
UPDATE 8 a.m.: The Carolinas could be in store for another round of unwanted rain as a low pressure system between Bermuda and the Bahamas finds a more conducive environment for strengthening as it moves west-northwest.
The area, which was given a 40 percent chance of development over the next five days, is in an area with slightly warmer than normal sea surface temperatures, but is expected to reach even warmer waters this week.
If the area of low pressure near the Carolinas were to become a named storm it would be Michael.
Kirk, which became the season’s 11th named storm on Saturday, has weakened to a depression but could see some restrengthening before hitting the “ever-present wall of wind shear near” near the Lesser Antilles, Masters said.
That wind shear is expected to tear Kirk apart later this week.
According to the National Hurricane Center, four named storms develop in the Atlantic after mid-September in an average season, three of which become hurricanes and one of which becomes a Category 3 or stronger hurricane.
While the 2018 season remains above normal for this time of year with 12 named storms, including 5 hurricanes, it has one fewer major hurricane than normal.
Florence has been the only storm to become a major hurricane of Cat 3 or stronger.
The number of named storms is challenging forecasters’ predictions for an average storm season.
The Climate Prediction Center’s August forecast predicted 9 to 13 named storms, 4 to 7 hurricanes and 0 to 2 major hurricanes.
“This year, despite the recent uptick in activity, the overall activity remains typical of a less active season,” said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster for the Climate Prediction Center. “For example, only two of seven storms since August 1have become hurricanes. This propensity for weaker, shorter-lived storms is typical of a less active season.”
Tropical Storm Kirk has weakened to a tropical depression as it moves quickly west across the Atlantic.
The National Hurricane Center said it had 35-mph maximum sustained winds, which were expected to strengthen but then lessen and dissipate the next few days.
Meanwhile subtropical storm Leslie is lingering in the Central Atlantic with maximum sustained winds at 40 miles per hour. It’s not expected to move much today, nor gain strength until it merges with a frontal system in the next two or three days.
Lastly, there is an area of low pressure between Bermuda and the Bahamas that has a 30 percent of forming into a depression within 48 hours.
More than 5 million people were under hurricane warnings or watches on the U.S. East Coast on Tuesday as Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolinas with Category 4 winds and an expected landfall Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Isaac continued to weaken slightly as it moved toward the Caribbean. Top winds dropped to 65 mph at 11 p.m.
A tropical storm warning was issued for Martinique, Guadeloupe and Dominica. Tropical storm conditions are expected on those islands by Wednesday night or early Thursday.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, Hurricane Helene is still packing 100-mph winds but it should soon fade away as it moves into the open ocean.
According to the hurricane center, gradual weakening is likely over the next couple of days, and Helene is expected to become a tropical storm by Thursday. Helene is forecast to accelerate and turn toward the northeast by the end of the week.
UPDATE 8 p.m.: Hurricane Florence remains at 140 mph as it threatens the U.S. East Coast with deadly storm surge and heavy rainfall. At 8 p.m., the storm was about 725 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, N.C., according to the National Hurricane Center.
On the current forecast track, the hurricane center predicts, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas through Wednesday, then approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Isaac began to lose some of its organization as it moved quickly westward about 610 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.
Isaac is forecast to move near or over the central Lesser Antilles on Thursday, into the eastern Caribbean on Thursday night, then into the central Caribbean by the weekend.
At 8 p.m., Isaac’s maximum sustained winds were 70 mph, just below hurricane strength. The storm is expected to be near hurricane strength when it moves through the central Lesser Antilles, with some weakening forecast later on Friday and Saturday.
UPDATE 5 p.m.: Hurricane Florence’s wind speeds increased to 140 mph this afternoon as hurricane and storm surge warnings go up along the South Carolina and North Carolina coast.
A hurricane warning means tropical storm-force winds are expected in the area within 36 hours.
As of 5 p.m., Florence was about 785 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, N.C., and moving west-northwest at 17 mph.
While Florence is expected to reach wind speeds of 150 mph, the forecast calls for it to decrease to a 115 mph Category 3 hurricane near landfall.
UPDATE 2 p.m.: Hurricane Florence maintained 130 mph wind speeds this afternoon, but is getting better organized and growing in size.
National Hurricane Center forecasters during the intermediate 2 p.m. advisory said hurricane-force winds have expanded outward up to 60 miles with tropical storm-force winds reaching out 170 miles from the storm’s center.
There were no changes to the storm surge watches and warnings for the Carolina’s. Forecasters are predicting between a 2-to 12-foot surge depending on where the storm comes ashore and if the peak surge occurs during high tide.
An area of disturbed weather over the extreme northwestern Caribbean could become a tropical depression Thursday as it moves across the western Gulf of Mexico.
Forecasters gave it a 50 percent chance of formation over the next 48 hours and a 70 percent chance of formation over five days.
If it becomes a tropical storm, it would be named Joyce.
UPDATE 11 a.m.: Hurricane Florence lost some wind speed this morning, but is expected to restrengthen today as it crosses warm water as it stays on a track toward the coast.
The National Hurricane Center estimates Florence is a low-end Cat 4 storm with 130 mph winds, but will regain 140 mph power, and possibly grow to have wind speeds of 150 mph.
There has been no significant change in Florence’s track, which has it making landfall late Thursday or early Friday somewhere along the coastline of the Carolina’s.
Tropical Storm Isaac has triggered new watches for Caribbean islands.
Hurricane watches have also been issued for Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique, and a tropical storm watch has been issued for Antigua and Montserrat.
The National Hurricane Center this morning issued hurricane and storm surge watches for much of the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline, with Florence expected to be a Category 4 hurricane at landfall late Thursday or early Friday.
As of the 5 a.m. advisory, Florence was a 140-mph storm about 975 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, N.C. It was moving west-northwest at 15 mph.
A special update issued at 7:45 a.m. said Hurricane Hunters found Florence had weakened to 130 mph, but is expected to restrengthen later today.
“These fluctuations are normal. There is nothing to stop this in the atmosphere from it staying a major hurricane,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center.
The Weather Prediction Center is forecasting as much as 20 inches of rain over part of North Carolina through Tuesday.
“That’s the really scary scenario with Florence,” said Michael Bell, an associate professor for science at Colorado State University. “Certainly, we’re not expecting a Hurricane Harvey, which was almost eight days of rain. But even a few days of tropical rainfall can cause flooding.”
According to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach, the last time there was a storm as strong as Florence as far north as it is was 2010’s Hurricane Earl.
While mid-August through mid-October is the busiest period for Atlantic hurricanes, Sept. 10 is the pinnacle — a time when warm water and low wind shear conspire in earnest to turn tropical waves into menacing storms.
“It sure is living up to that distinction this year,” Klotzbach said Monday in a social media post. “Currently we have three hurricanes and two other areas given a medium chance of development in the next five days.”
Isaac fell to a tropical storm late Monday, but is expected to restrengthen briefly before weakening again.
In the northeastern Atlantic, a non-tropical area of low pressure is forecast to form along a trough of low pressure located over the northeastern Atlantic. It has a 50 percent chance of development over five days.
The next names on the 2018 storm list are Joyce and Kirk.
UPDATE 6:30 a.m.: Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from heavy rainfall, which may extend inland over the Carolinas and Mid Atlantic. Large swells affecting Bermuda and portions of the U.S. East Coast will continue this week, which may cause life-threatening surf and rip currents.
UPDATE 11 p.m.: Hurricane Florence is taking aim at the U.S. East Coast with Category 4 winds, spurring North Carolina’s governor to urge coastal residents to evacuate. At 11 p.m., the storm’s winds remained at 140 mph but some strengthening is expected, according to the National Hurricane Center.
On the current forecast track, the hurricane center predicts, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, then approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina on Thursday.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is urging residents to evacuate the state’s coastal areas as Florence moves closer to landfall.
A tropical wave coming off Africa has a 60 percent chance of developing in the next five days as it moves over the eastern Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 2 a.m. tropical outlook. The chance of development in 48 hours is 60 percent.
Update, 12:50 p.m.: A significant weather advisory has been issued for southeastern Palm Beach County until 1:30 p.m.
National Weather Service meteorologists are tracking a strong thunderstorm near Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise moving north at 20 mph.
Winds in excess of 45 mph are possible with this storm, which is producing torrential rainfall and may lead to flooding.
Frequent cloud to ground lightning is also occurring with this storm.
The Weather Service is warning that this slow-moving storm could quickly saturate areas this afternoon, causing floods and concern for the evening commute.
Original post: Don’t expect to see the sun anytime soon – especially this afternoon as a threat of severe thunderstorms and lightning is expected, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.
Additional rainfall is expected throughout the afternoon – primarily between 1 and 7 p.m. – along with the rest of the week. A large area of deep tropical moisture will continue to stream northward across South Florida through the weekend. This will result in periods of moderate to heavy rainfall. Flooding could occur.
Heavy rain is expected in southern Palm Beach County around 1 p.m. and it will continue moving up into metropolitan West Palm Beach by 2 p.m.
And the rain isn’t going to let up. There is a 40 percent chance or higher for each of the next seven days in South Florida along with a high risk of lightning today through Monday.
In Palm Beach County, some areas have received up to 3 inches of rain in the past 6 days. In Broward and west Miami Dade counties, some spots have received 6 inches of rain in that span.
This afternoon, most of the showers and thunderstorms will be moving from the southwest to the northeast, a similar path of a strong cell that developed late Thursday. High temperatures will in the low to mid-80s. Breezy winds out of the southeast. Rain chances will continue into the early evening hours.
“Lightning obviously is a big concern,” said National Weather Service lead forecaster Robert Garcia. “We might also have some hail and conditions are ripe for funnel clouds and water spouts. That’s not out of the question. This is very reflective of the summertime pattern.”
Garcia said the afternoon rain is from a massive amount of tropical moisture in the Gulf of Mexico that is slowly moving.
“We might have some storms right on top of each other which could cause some localized flooding,” Garcia said of this afternoon.
Tonight, isolated rainfall, but not as heavy, is possible. Low temperatures will be in the low 70s.
GOES-S will be positioned where it can observe most of the Western Hemisphere, from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand. This includes Alaska, Hawaii and the northeastern Pacific, where many weather systems that affect the continental U.S. form.
“The GOES-S satellite will join GOES-16 and NOAA-20 as NOAA continues to upgrade its satellite fleet,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross earlier this week. “The latest GOES addition will provide further insight and unrivaled accuracy into severe weather systems and wildfires in the western United States.”
GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, and the GOES-S is the latest in a series of GOES satellites that were first launched in 1975. Geostationary means that GOES-S will orbit with the Earth, keeping pace with the planet’s spin.
GOES-S will scan the Earth five times faster and with four times the resolution of current satellites. Its 16 camera channels are triple the number of the satellite it is replacing.
“GOES-S will provide high-resolution imagery of the western U.S. and eastern Pacific completing our satellite coverage to further improve weather forecasts across the entire country,” said Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.
Lockhead Martin designed and built the 6,280-pound spacecraft that will orbit 22,500 miles above the Earth. The behemoth will be carried into space by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, which has a main engine and four beefy solid rocket boosters.
National Weather Service meteorologists in Miami are giving today a 40 percent chance of rain, with the Storm Prediction Center forecasting thunderstorms this afternoon as the front approaches.
The map below shows the front’s location at 1 p.m. today.
“At this point, it doesn’t look like we are looking at severe weather, but it’s not out of the question that there might be an isolated strong thunderstorm,” said Chris Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami.
The front should be into the Florida Straits by early tomorrow morning, with north winds cooling high temperatures Wednesday to 75 degrees.
By Thursday, the high temperature will reach about 70 degrees as skies clear and low temperatures dip back to normal in the upper-50s.
One year ago the same region identified for thunderstorms today was under an “enhanced” risk for severe weather. The Storm Prediction Center’s “enhanced” category is the third most severe on a five-level scale.
The elevated alert level was for good reason. Two tornadoes embedded in a powerful squall line ahead of a cold front hit areas of The Acreage, Palm Beach Gardens and Juno Beach in the early morning of Jan. 23, 2017. The tornadoes blew out windows, mangled bleachers at The Benjamin School, damaged fences at W.T. Dwyer High School and left about 14,000 people without power.