Possible tropical development in the Caribbean during next five days

The National Hurricane Center is watching an area over the northwestern Caribbean Sea for...
The National Hurricane Center is watching an area over the northwestern Caribbean Sea for potential tropical development.(WCTV)
Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 5:29 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The tropics were fairly quiet to end the month of September, but activity could fire up again at the beginning of October.

The National Hurricane Center was watching an area of the northwestern Caribbean Sea Tuesday for a 50% chance of tropical development over the next five days. There was no convection or “spin up” in that area Tuesday afternoon, but guidance models are hinting at something during that time.

“Environmental conditions are forecast to be conducive for some development [after a low pressure center develops],” according to the National Hurricane Center’s update Tuesday afternoon. “A tropical depression could form late this week or this weekend while the system moves slowly west-northwestward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea.”

There is the possibility of a broad circulation called a Central American Gyre that may develop over the next few days in the Caribbean Sea. These features can create spin in the lower levels of the atmosphere around the gyre, and possibly help to develop tropical systems.

Global models such as the European are hinting at low-level spin developing in the northwestern Caribbean sea this weekend. The American GFS shows this spin as early as Thursday.

Beyond the weekend, it’s very early to determine the outcome of the expected low pressure center. Some longer-range ensemble members from the GFS develop lows moving into the Gulf of Mexico with various tracks during the first 10 days of October. Other ensemble members show no lows in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the uncertainty, lack of a real center of low pressure and distance in time, forecast confidence is very low. The region will have to be watched this weekend into next week.

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