A tropical disturbance has entered the Caribbean Sea, but forecasters on Thursday said it was too early to say whether it will eventually reach the Gulf of Mexico or be a threat to Louisiana.
If it were to enter the Gulf, the threat to the Gulf coast is still more than seven days away, according to Hannah Lisney, a meteorologist with the Slidell National Weather Service.
Related: Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for Hurricane Season
The system is expected to turn into a tropical depression in a few days, meteorologists said, and will most likely be called Hermine if it strengthens into a tropical storm.
Now is the time for residents to review their hurricane plans and make sure their supply kits are prepared in case there is a threat to Louisiana, forecasters said.
5 systems in the tropics
Hurricane meteorologists are monitoring five systems in the Atlantic and Caribbean on Thursday:
- Disorder in the Caribbean
- Hurricane Fiona
- Tropical storm Gaston
- Disorders off the African coast
- Disorder in the Atlantic
Hurricane Fiona, Tropical Storm Gaston, and storms off the coast of Africa pose no threat to Louisiana. It is too early to say precisely where Caribbean ailment might go if it developed.
The next names of the storm are Hermine, Ian and Julia if any of the ailments grow stronger in a tropical storm.
Here’s what to know about the tropics starting at 11am Thursdays from the National Hurricane Center.
Disorder in the Caribbean
The Caribbean disturbance is currently called Invest 98-L and continues to show signs of organization, according to the National Hurricane Center forecast Thursday at 7am.
The system was producing downpours and thunderstorms over the southeastern Caribbean Sea early Thursday, forecasters said.
Environmental conditions are inhibiting development early Thursday, forecasters said, but it should change “in a couple of days” and a tropical depression is likely to form by then.
It has a 70% chance of developing into a tropical depression within 48 hours and a 90% chance of developing within five days.
Read the full perspective.
Where is the Caribbean system going?
The perturbation is expected to move northwest for a couple of days and reach the central Caribbean by the weekend, forecasters said.
Thursday will bring heavy rain and gusts of wind to parts of the Windward Islands, Venezuela and the ABC island chain, regardless of development, meteorologists said.
It is too early to say whether the system could reach the Gulf of Mexico and ultimately pose a threat to Louisiana.
Should it enter the Gulf, meteorologists said Thursday, the immediate threat to the Gulf coast is still more than seven days away.
The shaded area on the National Hurricane Center chart is where a storm could develop and is not a trace. Hurricane meteorologists release a trail when a tropical depression forms or is about to form. The trace shows where the storm could arrive within five days.
Long range models not reliable up to this point
The internet has been abuzz this week with various scenarios for the system, mostly based on long-range computer predictions.
These models show forecasts up to 16 days in advance and change frequently. They are not reliable in predicting the landing 7 to 10 days in the future.
However, they do offer scenarios for what might happen. Some of the long-range models from the Global Forecast System have shown that the system will enter the Gulf of Mexico next week. But it is too far in the future to predict anything accurately.
Predictions will become more reliable if the disorder actually forms.
‘We have anxiety’
Meteorologists from Slidell’s National Weather Service said they understand “the anxiety people feel” about the possibility of a storm, but reiterated that it is too early to panic.
A good way to manage anxiety, they said, is to stay informed but try not to focus on possible worst-case scenarios.
Also, take action by making a plan and gathering storm supplies before a potential threat, they said.
Here’s our beginner’s guide to hurricane season.
Also, here are the things you can do now to prepare yourself.
And here’s a list of over 60 non-perishable items to consider for your emergency kit.
Hurricane Fiona heads to Bermuda, Canada
Hurricane Fiona, a “large and powerful” Category 4 storm in the Atlantic, is heading towards Bermuda and eventually Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The hurricane is not expected to land on the mainland of the United States.
At 1:00 am, it was about 410 miles southwest of Bermuda and about 1,165 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is moving northeast at 15 mph and is expected to approach Bermuda on Thursday and Canada at the end of Friday.
The storm was blamed for directly causing at least four deaths on its march through the Caribbean, where torrential winds and rains in Puerto Rico left most people on U.S. territory without electricity or running water.
Check out the full notice with current watches and alerts.
Tropical storm Gaston in the Atlantic
Tropical Storm Gaston is expected to bring gusts of wind and heavy rain to the Azores this week.
It poses no threat to the United States
By 10:00, tropical storm Gaston was about 315 miles northwest of the central Azores and was moving northeast at 21 mph.
It has winds of 65 mph and is expected to gradually weaken over the next few days.
Read the full notice.
2 other Atlantic disturbances
Hurricane meteorologists are also monitoring two other systems in the Atlantic.
One on Africa’s west coast could turn into a tropical depression by this weekend and then head north, forecasters said. It poses no threat to the United States
Some development is also possible due to a disturbance in the Atlantic by the Cape Verde islands. The system is expected to move slowly northwest over the Atlantic.
Read the full perspective.
So far, there have been seven named storms this season: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, and Gaston. The next available name is Hermine.
Hurricane season ends Nov. 19, 30, but storms can form at any time.
The categories, in order of increasing strength, are tropical depression, tropical storm and hurricane (categories 1 to 5). A system gets its name when it turns into a tropical storm.
On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the wind categories are:
- Tropical Depression: Up to 38 mph
- Tropical storm: 39 to 73 mph
- Category 1 hurricane: 74 to 95 mph
- Category 2 hurricane: 96 to 110 mph
- Category 3 hurricane (major hurricane): 111 to 129 mph
- Category 4 hurricane: 130-156 mph
- Category 5 hurricane: 157 mph and above
what to do now
Now is the time to review your hurricane plans and make sure your property is ready for hurricane season.
Here are some tips from the National Weather Service on how to prepare for the season:
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