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Forecasters eye tropical system now in the Caribbean Sea

The system is expected to become a tropical depression soon and models show it heading toward the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center is watching five tropical systems, including one now in the Caribbean Sea that models show is likely headed for the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center is watching five tropical systems, including one now in the Caribbean Sea that models show is likely headed for the Gulf of Mexico. [ National Hurricane Center ]
Published Sep. 22|Updated Sep. 23

Hurricane season is at its peak with two named storms and three tropical systems in the Atlantic — including a system that forecast models continue to show is headed for the Gulf of Mexico.

A tropical wave now in the southeastern Caribbean Sea is producing showers and thunderstorms, and winds ahead of the system are likely to be more favorable for development, forecasters said. The system was located around 150 miles east-northeast of Curacao as of 8 p.m. Thursday. It is expected to become a tropical depression over the next day or so as it moves across the central Caribbean.

The wave had a 90% chance of forming into a depression in the next two days and a 90% chance over the next five days, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 p.m. Thursday update.

Spaghetti models posted on the website of Tropical Tidbits shows the wave making its way through the Caribbean and up to the Gulf of Mexico.

Models posted by Spectrum Bay News 9 show the wave on a similar path, with some showing the system curving toward the west coast of Florida and crossing the state.

Heavy rainfall and gusty winds from the system are expected in northern Venezuela, the ABC island chain and the northeastern part of Columbia through Friday, forecasters say.

Spectrum Bay News 9 posted a graphic of a spaghetti plot showing the possible paths of a tropical system currently in the Caribbean Sea.
Spectrum Bay News 9 posted a graphic of a spaghetti plot showing the possible paths of a tropical system currently in the Caribbean Sea. [ Spectrum Bay News 9 ]

A second tropical wave is near the west coast of Africa and 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, the update said.

Forecasters said the wave had a 60% chance of further development in two days and a 60% in the five.

A third tropical wave is several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. Forecasters say despite unfavorable tropical conditions, the system could slowly develop while it moves northwest over the Tropical Atlantic. That system had only a 20% chance of forming in the next two days and a 30% chance in the next five.

Two named storms are still in the Atlantic, including Fiona, which passed over the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 4 hurricane and has left destruction in its path across Puerto Rico.

Fiona is on track to pass to the west of Bermuda later Thursday night, over parts of Nova Scotia by early Saturday, then move north into the Gulf of St. Lawrence over the weekend, the hurricane center said in its 8 p.m. Thursday update. It has maximum sustained winds near 130 mph, with higher gusts.

The storm wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, which had been patched but never fully rebuilt after Maria caused a blackout that lasted 11 months in some places.

Fiona killed a man in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe and two others in Puerto Rico who were swept away by swollen rivers. Two died in the Dominican Republic, one by a falling tree and the other by a falling electric post.

Two additional deaths were reported in Puerto Rico as a result of the blackout: A 70-year-old man burned to death after he tried to fill his running generator with gasoline and a 78-year-old man police say inhaled toxic gases from his generator.

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 Thursday evening. Forecasters say Gaston’s track could bring it near or over the western and central Azores Islands before becoming a post-tropical storm.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

• • •

2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.

RISING THREAT: Tampa Bay will flood. Here's how to get ready.

DOUBLE-CHECK: Checklists for building all kinds of hurricane kits

PHONE IT IN: Use your smartphone to protect your data, documents and photos.

SELF-CARE: Protect your mental health during a hurricane.

• • •

Rising Threat: A special report on flood risk and climate change

PART 1: The Tampa Bay Times partnered with the National Hurricane Center for a revealing look at future storms.

PART 2: Even weak hurricanes can cause huge storm surges. Experts say people don’t understand the risk.

PART 3: Tampa Bay has huge flood risk. What should we do about it?

INTERACTIVE MAP: Search your Tampa Bay neighborhood to see the hurricane flood risk.

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