SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The odds of the 8th named storm of the season are increasing. 'Tis the season for tropical cyclones and one could have an impact on Florida this weekend.
Right now it is too early to tell if the system will even develop into a tropical cyclone. The chances of that are at 70% according to the National Hurricane Center.
There is also a lot of confusion with the forecast models as to what might happen over the course of the next 5 days.
Here are the possible outcomes from the system now located just east of the Lesser Antilles.
This tropical disturbance identified as 99L has plenty of obstacles however there is a window of opportunity where it may develop later this week.
The biggest hindrance is the dry air out ahead of it right now. Then in a couple of days, it may get absorbed by the mountains of Hispaniola like we saw last year with Erika.
There is a small area in the SW Atlantic where the system will have a better chance for developing if it makes it past the mountains. Either way it needs to be watched closely.
A couple of models build an upper level low off the Carolina coast. If this is strong enough then it would tend to keep the storm east of Florida as it works northwest and then to the north. If this develops, then it would also keep it from being a strong storm due to the dry air and increased shear.
The other thought is that it never makes it past the Dominican Republic and stays as an open wave moving west ,which could still bring us some increase in moisture over the latter half of the weekend.
If it gets by the Greater Antilles and stays over the SW Atlantic, then it could become a tropical cyclone and move more on a westerly course clipping south Florida and moving out into the Gulf away from Florida as high pressure builds in over the Southeast U.S.
Right now it does not look too bad for the Suncoast, but that may change as we get closer to the weekend. Stay tuned.
Chief Meteorologist Bob Harrigan