FLORIDA, United States, Monday November 21, 2016 – As forecasters had been predicting all last week, a tropical depression has formed over the southwestern Caribbean. And weather experts say it will become Tropical Storm Otto either later today or tomorrow.
The cluster of showers and thunderstorms that was being monitored for development over the past week developed a full circulation early this morning.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) November 21, 2016
In its first advisory at 4 a.m., the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said the depression which had maximum sustained winds near 35 miles per hour, was about 170 miles east southeast of San Andres Island and 300 miles east of Bluefields, Nicaragua.
It was stationary at the time, and had been for several hours, and the NHC said little movement is during the day, but it should start to move slowly toward the west tomorrow.
If sustained winds achieve 39 miles per hour, the threshold for a tropical storm will be reached and the system would be named Tropical Storm Otto.
The NHC said slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is expected to become a storm later today or tonight.
— Lissette Gonzalez (@LissetteCBS4) November 21, 2016
Areas from Honduras to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia will be at the greatest risk for torrential downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms through this week.
According to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, it is unlikely that the centre of the system will reach areas from Cuba to Hispaniola and Puerto Rico due to a swath of dry air to the north.
However, even if the centre of the anticipated system fails to physically move across these areas, heavy rain can extend well away from the centre. As a result, Sosnowski said, people from Haiti and the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico should still be prepared for localized downpours.
According to hurricane researcher and meteorologist Dr. Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University, the most recent tropical storm to form this late in the season, which ends on November 30, was Odette in 2003. The last major November hurricane in the Atlantic was Hurricane Paloma in 2009. According to the NHC, the Category 4 Paloma was the second-strongest November hurricane on record.