Tropical Storms Rina, Philippe may interact, causing uncertainty in strength, path

Shira Moolten and Angie DiMichele, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Weather News

Forecasters are uncertain of what the next few days hold for both Tropical Storm Rina, which formed Thursday morning in the central Atlantic, and Tropical Storm Philippe as they may interact.

It is unclear how Tropical Storm Rina’s intensity and track forecast could be affected because of its close proximity to Tropical Storm Philippe, which is west of Rina. The track forecast for disorganized Philippe, which “barely meets the criteria” for a tropical cyclone, is also complicated by its closeness to Rina.

Rina was located about 1,110 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands in the far eastern Caribbean, moving northwest at 14 mph, as of the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. Eastern time advisory.

Rina is expected to turn more westward by Friday and should gradually strengthen over the next few days, though forecasters said in the short-term, Rina’s close proximity to Philippe and wind shear are likely to limit its strengthening.

“While Rina is expected to remain a tropical storm throughout the forecast period, uncertainty in the intensity forecast is higher than normal due to the potential interaction with Philippe,” forecasters said late Thursday afternoon.

Philippe’s weakening as of late Thursday afternoon appears to be related to it interacting with Rina and dry air, forecasters said in the latest advisory.

“Since these factors are expected to persist, some additional weakening is forecast during the next day or so, and it is possible that Philippe dissipates sometime during the next couple of days,” the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Philippe was located about 525 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 2 mph. Its maximum sustained winds had dropped to 45 mph.


Philippe is expected to slowly move southwest in the next few days as it rotates around Rina, the latest advisory said. Forecasters do not anticipate much strengthening in that time.

By late this weekend, Philippe is expected to make a hard turn to the north, and it is unclear where that northward turn will happen, the latest advisory said. If Philippe maintains its strength, though, environmental conditions will become slightly more favorable when it separates farther from Rina.

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.

The next named storm will be Sean.

Hurricane season officially runs through Nov. 30.

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