BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday September 27, 2016 – The forecast is crystal clear that a well-organized tropical wave which has tropical storm potential will affect the Windward Islands today.
But where will it go from there and which islands will it affect?
Here’s what forecasters with the Weather Channel are projecting.
First Stop: Windward Islands
Steered by the subtropical ridge of high pressure known as the Bermuda-Azores high, this system will arrive in the Windward Islands, bringing showers, some locally heavy rain and strong winds beginning late today or tomorrow.
Some bands of rain may reach as far north as the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and may persist into Thursday in the Windward Islands.
It should be noted this disturbance is starting out at a fairly low latitude, just north of 10 degrees. Therefore, locally heavy rain and gusty winds are expected in such locations as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, perhaps even coastal Venezuela.
Next: Eastern Caribbean Sea
By Thursday, the system will be in the eastern Caribbean Sea.
Again, given the southern track, there could be locally heavy rain and strong winds in the typically drier “ABC Islands” – Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao – as well as parts of coastal Venezuela and Colombia Thursday through early Saturday.
Beyond that, uncertainty is still very high on this system’s future.
First of all, west to northwest winds aloft over the Caribbean Sea are providing some wind shear, which is typically hostile to the development and intensification of tropical cyclones. Assuming the shear diminishes, the “future Matthew” should be able to intensify in the Caribbean Sea.
In general, the “future Matthew” has been hinted at making a northwest or even northward turn in the Caribbean Sea this weekend, which could threaten Hispañola, Jamaica, or parts of eastern Cuba as soon as early next week.
Again, the timing and track of this remain uncertain at this time.
For now, all interests in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and The Bahamas should monitor the progress of this system.