Two tropical systems are expected to strengthen as they cross the Atlantic Basin into next week, including one that poses a threat to Irma-devastated areas in the northern Caribbean.
Ninety-six L, located about 1,000 miles east of the Windward Islands, presents the biggest risk to land as it continues to gain strength over the coming days. People in the Lesser Antilles should be preparing for yet another impactful tropical system.
The storm will quickly track to the west or west-northwest through the weekend, likely reaching and passing over the Lesser Antilles on Monday as a tropical storm or hurricane.
This would be the third tropical system to impact the area in two weeks, following major hurricanes Irma and Jose during the first week of September.
While it is unlikely that 96L will reach Irma’s intense strength by the time it approaches, the brisk pace of the storm means there is little time for preparations to be completed on the islands.
Some of the islands that were largely spared from Irma’s wrath may take a direct hit from 96L, including Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique. The worst of the rain and wind may brush Barbuda.
Seas will build along the east-facing beaches of the islands as 96L approaches on Sunday, followed by heavy rain and gusty winds on Monday.
Any rain that falls over areas devastated by Irma will only add misery to cleanup efforts. Those that have been left homeless and do not have a means of leaving the islands will be at the mercy of the rain and wind.
“With Irma stripping much of the vegetation in the northern Leeward and Virgin Islands, there is a much greater risk of flash flooding and mudslides,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
Depending on how much 96L strengthens, winds could be strong enough to snap trees and power lines on islands that were spared by previous storms.
This system may then approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Wednesday, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.
Ninety-six L’s anticipated track would put much of Puerto Rico in the path of severe rain and wind. Mudslides and power outages will be possible.
Hispaniola may be threatened by the storm later next week.
Boaters in the northern Caribbean should securely tie their craft in port until 96L has safely passed.
While it is too early to determine whether 96L will have an impact on the United States, all interests along the Gulf and East coasts should monitor the storm’s progress during the coming week.
Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 14 continues to swirl to the east of 96L.
“This system will not threaten any land for at least the next five days as it works its way westward across the open waters of the eastern and central Atlantic,” Pydynowski said.
The depression may get swept completely out to sea next week.
Whichever system strengthens to a tropical storm first would acquire the name Lee, followed by Maria.