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Tropics busy with 2 named storms, 3 tropical disturbances

Models show one tropical wave has the potential to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico by next week.
Forecasters were watching three tropical disturbances and two named storms Wednesday. One of the disturbances, shown in red, has a 90% chance of further development over the next five days and could make its way into the Gulf of Mexico next week.
Forecasters were watching three tropical disturbances and two named storms Wednesday. One of the disturbances, shown in red, has a 90% chance of further development over the next five days and could make its way into the Gulf of Mexico next week. [ National Hurricane Center ]
Published Sep. 21|Updated Sep. 22

Forecasters are watching three tropical systems in the Atlantic Wednesday, including a disturbance that has the potential to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico by next week.

A tropical wave in the southeastern Caribbean Sea continues to be organized and could become a tropical depression within the next couple of days, according to an 8 p.m. Wednesday update from the National Hurricane Center. The system is expected to move across the eastern Caribbean Sea and be into the central Caribbean Sea later this week, forecasters say.

That wave has a 70% chance of forming into a depression in the next two days and a 90% chance over the next five days, the update said. An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance plane currently is surveying the depression, the Wednesday night update said.

Brian McClure, a meteorologist at Spectrum Bay News 9, tweeted Tuesday that the wave is one to watch. Models posted to Spectrum Bay News 9′s website show the tropical wave has the potential to reach the Gulf of Mexico by next week. The news station posted two other models that show similar paths for the wave.

Spectrum Bay News 9 posted a spaghetti plot to its website that shows the tropical depression possibly making its way into the Gulf of Mexico in the coming days.
Spectrum Bay News 9 posted a spaghetti plot to its website that shows the tropical depression possibly making its way into the Gulf of Mexico in the coming days. [ National Hurricane Center ]

A second tropical wave is near the west coast of Africa and it is expected to move over the eastern Atlantic on Thursday. Forecasters expect conditions will be favorable for the wave to have some slow development while it moves between west Africa and the Cabo Verde Islands through the end of the week, according to the 8 p.m. update. The system could become a tropical depression by this weekend.

Forecasters say the wave has a 50% chance of further development in two days and a 60% in the next five.

A third tropical wave is several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. The system could develop slowly in the next several days as it moves northwest, and then west over the Atlantic. That system has only a 20% chance of forming in the next two days and a 30% chance in the next five, according to the 8 p.m. update.

Two named storms are still in the Atlantic, including Fiona, which battered the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 3 storm on Tuesday after devastating Puerto Rico.

Fiona strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday. According to an 8 p.m. update from the hurricane center, Fiona will bring tropical storm conditions and possibly hurricane conditions to Bermuda late Thursday and early Friday.

The storm, located 605 miles southwest of Bermuda, had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and was moving north at 9 mph, the 8 p.m. update said.

Fiona is expected to pick up speed Thursday and reach Atlantic Canada late Friday still at hurricane strength.

The storm has been blamed for directly causing at least five deaths in its march through the Caribbean, where winds and torrential rain in Puerto Rico left a majority of people on the U.S. territory without power or running water. Hundreds of thousands of people scraped mud out of their homes following what authorities described as “historic” flooding.

The storm’s eye passed close to Grand Turk, the small British territory’s capital island, but officials reported light damage.

The blow from Fiona was made more devastating because Puerto Rico has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which destroyed the power grid in 2017. Five years later, more than 3,000 homes on the island are still covered by blue tarps.

Tropical Storm Gaston formed Tuesday to become the second named storm currently active in the Atlantic. The storm was producing maximum sustained winds of about 65 mph with higher gusts late Wednesday afternoon but is unlikely to threaten land, forecast models show. By the end of this week, Gaston will likely slow down or come to a halt just west of the Azores. If the storm survives, it could turn north over the weekend.

Forecasters say Gaston could become a post-tropical storm in the next few days.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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