FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A tropical wave located in the southeast Caribbean on Thursday has a high chance of becoming a hurricane in the coming days, according to the National Weather Service Miami.
In the next week, several long-term weather forecast models show the system turning north, passing over Cuba, and heading toward the Gulf of Mexico, and possibly toward Florida.
“It looks like it’s going to end up being a major hurricane,” said Will Redman, a spokesperson for the National Weather Service Miami.
A major hurricane is classified as Category 3 or above.
Redman said the current path shows the storm’s center anywhere between the west coast of Florida and New Orleans, while the area facing the brunt of the hurricane’s force would likely be the Florida Panhandle.
If a hurricane does develop, it would probably form Monday or Tuesday of next week, Redman said. The next named storm will be Hermine.
First, the tropical wave likely will become a tropical depression over the next few days while over the southeastern Caribbean Sea and then reach the central Caribbean this weekend, the National Hurricane Center’s 8 p.m. Eastern time advisory said. The system has a 90% chance of developing in the next 48 hours, up from 80% a few hours earlier, and a 90% chance of developing in the next five days.
The system’s showers and thunderstorms were disorganized Thursday night, but forecasters said the environment supports development as it heads west-northwest at 10 to 15 mph over the central Caribbean, according to the 8 p.m. update.
“It’s a good time to check any supplies and review your plans through the weekend,” the National Weather Service Miami wrote in its weekly weather briefing.
“For us here in South Florida, we just have to keep monitoring situation closely,” said Maria Torres, spokesperson for the National Hurricane Center. “The important thing is to make sure people start having their preparations ready.”