FLORIDA, United States, Sunday October 15, 2017 – A broad area of low pressure that has been bringing heavy rains to the Caribbean this weekend has some potential to become the 16th named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. But forecasters say even if it does, it will happen after it passes the region which has already been battered by powerful storms this season.
Invest 92L – which has a medium (50 per cent) chance over the next five days of becoming a tropical depression that could develop into Tropical Storm Philippe– is a broad area of low pressure that the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami has been tracking for a few days.
This morning, it was located a little more than 100 miles north of Puerto Rico.
“The low is producing numerous showers and a few squalls mainly to the east of the center. Further development of this system, if any, will likely occur while the low and its associated activity move toward the northwest and north during the next two to three days,” the NHC said.
Even though the system is moving away from the Caribbean, it will still cause localized downpours in some places. Showers and thunderstorms from the system will affect the Puerto Rico – which is still struggling to recover from the hit from Category 5 Hurricane Maria last month – and the US and British Virgin Islands today. As the system moves farther to the north tomorrow, tropical moisture will remain in place over those territories, continuing the threat of locally heavy rain.
According to forecasters, Invest 92L has a small window to develop into a tropical depression. It is currently battling strong wind shear – the changing of speed and direction of winds at different layers of the atmosphere which can prevent tropical development or shred apart mature tropical storms or hurricanes; but they say that shear may lessen enough tomorrow into Tuesday for development to take place.
However, if it doesn’t develop by the middle of the week, it’s storm potential ends as that’s when the system is expected to merge with a cold front.