The latest tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic Ocean is showing signs of potential development, and it may approach parts of the Caribbean in the coming week. However, the forecast track for this system remains highly uncertain.
This system of interest is currently situated approximately 300 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, traveling westward across the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It has been designated as “Invest 90L” by the National Hurricane Center. Such designations are used to generate specialized computer guidance and allocate additional resources for improved forecasting.
The system has been gradually organizing with the development of a circulation since its departure from the west coast of Africa. It is expected to encounter generally favorable atmospheric conditions within the Main Development Region (MDR), increasing the likelihood of it evolving into a tropical depression by early next week.
Over the next week or so, the system is expected to follow the southern edge of the Bermuda High, typically moving in a westward or west-northwestward direction. This part of the forecast appears relatively certain.
However, the next phase of the system’s journey involves a potential northward turn, similar to what we observed with Hurricane Lee. The timing and location of this turn depend on when the Bermuda High weakens or moves away, allowing the system to change course.
The strength of the Bermuda High and the intensity of the developing storm will play crucial roles in determining whether the system tracks closer to the Caribbean or shifts northward more quickly, avoiding the Caribbean.
As this turn is approximately a week away, it remains a challenging forecast. Recent model guidance has provided a wide range of scenarios, from tracking hundreds of miles east of Bermuda to approaching the northern Caribbean.
To gain more clarity on the system’s future path, the NOAA Hurricane Hunters may deploy a jet to investigate the Atlantic pattern as early as Monday, which should help narrow down the uncertainties in computer forecast models.
While the most likely scenario currently suggests a recurvature over the western Atlantic, this forecast should be closely monitored for updates. Residents in the Leeward and Virgin Islands, as well as Puerto Rico, are advised to keep a vigilant eye on this system, as forecast changes are anticipated throughout the coming week.
Looking ahead, the next names on the list for upcoming tropical storms are Ophelia and Philippe. As we transition into late September and October, the focus for tropical development shifts toward the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and western Atlantic, with hurricane season continuing through the end of November, making it important to remain vigilant during the next nine weeks.