A potential tropical cyclone off the east coast of Florida will soon strengthen into a tropical depression or storm, forecasters said on Thursday.
The National Hurricane Center began to issue warnings late Thursday morning, as the developing storm has caused heavy rainfall and possible flooding this week in south Florida.
Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen is expected to become a tropical storm as it approaches the coast of North Carolina on Friday.
Meanwhile, another system off Africa is expected to merge with another system to its west and become a tropical depression late this week, potentially heading towards the eastern Caribbean.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the system’s chances of development are 70 percent within the next seven days.
While the system off Florida’s coast is not a tropical depression yet, forecasters have started to issue advisories ahead of time because it is expected to intensify quickly.
Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Miami, said: “This possible system is going to develop fast enough that they want to put up watches and warnings.
“So they have the option to put ‘potential tropical cyclone’ to give everyone time to prepare.”
As of 10 am Thursday, forecasters said the system near Florida has a 60 percent chance of developing in the next two days, and a 60 percent chance within the next seven days.
The system was located about 370 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, around 11 am Thursday, moving north at 9 mph.
Tropical storm warnings were issued from Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Fenwick Island, Delaware, and a storm surge watch is now in effect from Surf City, North Carolina, to Chincoteague, Virginia.
Garcia said south Florida will be increasingly stormy as the week continues.
He said: “The big thing we’ll need to watch through the week is a chance of heavy rainfall and maybe even flooding, and strong wind gusts from the thunderstorms that could develop.”
The National Hurricane Center said in a statement: “Regardless of development, this low is likely to bring gusty winds to gale force, heavy rain, and high surf to portions of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic United States late this week and into this weekend.”
Meanwhile, a fast-moving Hurricane Nigel moved near Canada as a Category 1 storm with strong winds, also sending swells down to Bermuda.
Impacts from Nigel are expected to subside by Thursday night, and the storm will downgrade to a post-tropical cyclone by Friday.
The National Hurricane Center has forecasted 14 to 21 named storms for the 2023 Atlantic season and six to 11 hurricanes – up to five of which would be major hurricanes.
So far this season, there have been 14 named storms, six of which were hurricanes – and three were major hurricanes.
Those were Hurricane Lee, Hurricane Franklin, and Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall on Florida’s Big Bend region as a Category 3 storm on August 30. The next named storm would be Ophelia.
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