Currently in the Atlantic-September 21st, 2022

Next important development-into the Caribbean

While Fiona is still raking the Southeast Bahamas and threatens Bermuda and even Newfoundland in the next few days, a new sign of future trouble is brewing in the Atlantic. The red area near the bottom of the above map shows a 80% chance of development in the next 5 days. Another tropical storm could also develop in the Central Atlantic, but that will be no threat to land.

The next two names (and pronunciations) are:

Gaston (ga-STAWN)

Hermine (her-MEEN)

The one threatening the Caribbean is what we'll focus on. There are several factors that favor development, intensification, and an eventual threat to land. First, low shear:

Lots of green (low shear) in Caribbean & Gulf of Mexico

The water temperatures are very high, and the warm water extends deep, which is represented as "heat content". That is far higher in the Caribbean than anywhere else in the Atlantic Basin (those red colors below).

There are a couple of factors that limit what is now called "Invest 98L": outflow of wind coming from Fiona, and how close it is to the coast of South America. Also, tropical storms tend not to form or get too strong in the Eastern Caribbean, especially near South America. The "favored" areas to focus on are the Central and Western Caribbean.

There is extremely strong support for a Tropical Storm to develop by the weekend and into early next week in this area. I often use the "ensembles" of the European model (ECMWF), which has proven to be the best overall for 20+ years. Using the 51 ensemble "members" gives a great example of how much uncertainty there is. (I call it "the best of the best"). The map below shows the location and strength of the LOW-pressure centers by next Monday. That is incredible agreement for a FIVE-day forecast!

Amazing agreement in 5-day forecast!

There's no need to go beyond 5-days, but storms in the Central Caribbean at this time of year, with no shear problems are eventually likely to:

  1. Become hurricanes (potentially major ones)
  2. Hit land. There's nowhere for a storm in that area to go but to hit land somewhere.

The models show only slow strengthening the rest of this week as the storm stays close to South America. Then, there's a strong trend of intensification by next week.

Strengthening expected by weekend

Any trips planned into the Caribbean area starting this weekend should be looked at closely, and an eventual threat to the Gulf of Mexico areas or even Florida are possible at this point.

Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz     thehurricaneschwartz@gmail.com

What you need to know, currently.

Hurricane Fiona grew even more powerful Tuesday as it left Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, where it just made landfall Monday morning. The hurricane pounded both islands with up to 30 inches of rain, leading to flooding and mudslides, among other destruction.

Flooding has damaged the water system – leaving about 837,000 residents, more than two thirds of the entire island of Puerto Rico, without service.

More than 80% of Puerto Rico remains without power, more than 24 hours after the storm shut down the island’s electrical system. However, Luma Energy, the private consortium overseeing the country’s electric distribution, said it has restored power to almost 300,000 customers, as of Tuesday.

The National Guard has placed 600 soldiers throughout Puerto Rico via rescue operations – so far, emergency responders have rescued about 1,000 people.

In the Dominican Republic, more than 1 million people were left without running water, while 700,000 homes and businesses struggled without power.

Here is a thread of trusted local organizations, if you are looking for places to donate to.

—Aarohi Sheth

What you can do, currently.

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