A tropical disturbance near the Bahamas is “forecast to become a tropical depression or a tropical storm later today or Saturday," according to the National Hurricane Center, and is set to bring periods of heavy rain to Tampa Bay this weekend.
The Hurricane Center forecasts the storm to become a tropical cyclone Friday, earning the moniker Tropical Cyclone Nine, then strengthen to Tropical Storm Humberto early Saturday as wind speeds climb to more than 39 mph.
The disturbance Friday morning was barely over 100 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas, which was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian’s brutal 185 mph winds less than two weeks ago. The powerful hurricane is blamed for at least 50 deaths in the Bahamas with another 1,300 reported missing. A tropical storm warning was issued Thursday for the northwestern Bahamas. Tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain are expected to impact the islands, but significant storm surge is not expected. Another storm, even just at tropical strength, would complicate relief efforts, forecasters said.
As the center of the storm begins to form, forecasters have been able to fine-tune a track sending it over the Bahamas and to the west where it will ride up Florida’s east coast before tracing the southeast U.S. The disturbance is not expected to pass tropical storm strength, but the current track is nearly identical to the path Hurricane Dorian took before dissipating near Nova Scotia.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in place from Jupiter inlet to the Flagler-Volusia county line, keeping Tampa Bay out of the projected path, but the storm is still expected to be felt on the Gulf Coast. Forecasters said the storm should begin to bring breezy, cloudy conditions along with some tropical moisture to the region today and increase through the weekend. Tropical moisture tends to dump brief, but heavy periods of rain, National Weather Service forecaster Dan Noah said.
The Hurricane Center is watching two other disturbances out in the Atlantic that have low chances of formation over the next few days.
2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
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