Published September 04, 2013
A slowly brewing tropical system drenching part of the northeastern Caribbean has a chance at becoming a tropical depression or storm as the week progresses. Another system near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is also being monitored for potential development.
According to Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "If either of the two systems can avoid land, dry air and disruptive winds, they could become the next tropical storms within a few days."
The next two names on the list of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin are Gabrielle and Humberto.
Regardless of development, the system in the northeastern part of the Caribbean will spread a risk of flash flooding and mudslides from the Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico and Hispaniola through the end of the week.
On Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, the system was located a couple of hundred miles southeast of Puerto Rico and was beginning to cluster thunderstorms near its center.
The area from the Windward and Leeward islands to the British and U.S. Virgin islands has been subject to locally heavy showers and gusty thunderstorms since the start of the week.
"U.S Air Force reconnaissance C130 aircraft will fly into the system later Wednesday to see if indeed the system has become a tropical cyclone," Kottlowski said.
The system is forecast to drift in a general west to northwesterly direction the next several days and could begin to affect the Turks and Caicos, and the southern part of the Bahamas this weekend.
"Mountainous terrain of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola is likely to interfere with the circulation of the system and slow development through Saturday," Kottlowski stated.
The same rugged terrain will enhance the rainfall and the threat of flash flooding and mudslides. Some areas could receive a half a foot of rain from the slow-moving system.
Depending on the strength of the system, there is the potential for building seas and surf in the region. However, even in a poorly organized system, there can be locally gusty squalls, which are a hazard for small craft.
Indications are that during next week, disruptive westerly winds in the atmosphere may minimize further development.
These same winds could keep the center of the system from reaching the United States mainland.
While there are some factors that will limit the intensity of this system, people should continue to monitor its progress.
Another system being monitored around the Caribbean is drifting slowly westward across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Wednesday.
"As this system drifts over the warm waters of the southwestern part of the Gulf of Mexico late this week it will have a chance to become better organized," Kottlowski said.
The system will produce drenching showers and locally gusty thunderstorms over the peninsula the next couple of days.
The Yucatan system will then drift into the Mexico mainland this weekend and may not have enough time to get very strong before doing so. However, even a disturbance, depression or storm would still bring the potential for torrential rain, flooding and mudslides. Veracruz, Mexico, was hit hard by Tropical Storm Fernand during late August.