Tropical Storm Philippe is expected to drift for the next few days as it nears the Caribbean, though it may curve and skirt that boundary. Following to the east, a second system is forecast to become a either a tropical depression or Tropical Storm Rina on Thursday or Friday, forecasters said.
The National Hurricane Center expects some slight fluctuations in intensity as Philippe moves west-northwest or west. It’s unclear at this point if the storm will maintain its tropical cyclone status if it reaches the northern Leeward Islands, or if it will weaken by that point. In general, forecasters anticipate an overall slow weakening trend later this weekend and weekend as the storm continues to encounter storm-shredding wind shear and dry air.
Tropical-storm-force winds from Philippe, which extend outward up to 175 miles from its center, could begin arriving in northern Caribbean islands as early as Friday, including Anguilla and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center.
From Friday to Monday, Philippe could produce 2 to 4 inches of rain across the islands of the northeastern Caribbean, the Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico. Western Puerto Rico could see 1 to 2 inches of rain. Areas hardest hit by rainfall could see isolated urban and small stream flooding.
As of 5 a.m. Thursday, Philippe was located about 560 miles east of the far eastern Caribbean, moving west-northwest at 5 mph. Its maximum sustained winds are holding steady at 50 mph.
The system that is expected to become a tropical depression or tropical storm Thursday or Friday was located about halfway between the Cabo Verde Islands off Africa and the far eastern Caribbean as of 8 a.m. Thursday. Forecasters said conditions are favorable for it to develop if it stays far enough away from Philippe.
It will move northwest across the Atlantic.
So far this season in the Atlantic, there have been 16 named storms, six of which were hurricanes. Of those, three were major hurricanes, meaning Category 3 or above.
Those were Hurricane Lee, a rare Category 5; Hurricane Franklin, a Category 4; and Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall on Florida’s Big Bend region at Category 3 strength on Aug. 30.
Hurricane season officially runs through Nov. 30.
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