Eyes on the Atlantic: Tropical disturbance could impact Caribbean, U.S. East Coast
Thursday, August 21, 2014, 12:00 PM - Forecasters are closely watching a tropical disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean, which has the potential to develop into a tropical storm.
"While not a certainty, it appears likely that the tropical disturbance will become a named tropical cyclone (Christobal) by early next week (possibly sooner)," says Weather Network meteorologist Doug Gillham.
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A potential threat looms for the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and U.S. East Coast.
"Gusty winds and heavy rain are expected for parts of the Carribbean, including portions of the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands Thursday night and Friday and over Hispaniola late Friday and Saturday," Gillham says. "There is the potential for this system to impact the Southeastern U.S. late next week."
According to Gillham, it is still much too early to speculate on where that threat is the highest.
"We have seen some ominous forecasts from various forecast models, but we will continue to see considerable model disagreement and flip flopping with each new model update until the system becomes much better organized," Gillham says.
Should people start preparing?
"Those who live along the Gulf and Atlantic Coast would typically have a plan in place and some supplies on hand before the tropical season starts," adds Gillham. "However, aside from that it is too early to be preparing specifically for this storm due to the uncertainty of track or even whether the system will organize and make landfall. But, anyone with interests in this region should definitely stay tuned and check back for updates."
While hurricane season starts on June 1, typically the Atlantic Basin is relatively quiet until mid-August.
"So, the season really hasn't been particularly slow so far," says Gillham. "The expectation, is that the season as a whole will have slightly below average tropical activity, but the concern is that there is a higher than average threat for the storms that do develop to impact North America (we already saw that with Arthur).
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Hmmm, models are now diverging big time with 96L. One drives a Cat 2 hurricane into Miami, one no development, others recurve east of Fla.— Mark Robinson (@StormhunterTWN) August 21, 2014