Things are getting busier in the Atlantic, with another system that’s heading toward the Gulf of Mexico. The National Weather Service is watching a tropical wave east of the southern Windward Islands that is likely to become a tropical depression within the next two or three days as it heads toward the central Caribbean Sea later this week, and another off the coast of Africa.
Tropical Storm Gaston formed over the central Atlantic hours after developing into a tropical depression, about 990 miles west of the Azores. It is expected to strengthen over the next day or two.
Meanwhile. Hurricane Fiona strengthened into a Category 4 storm this morning after it left the Turks and Caicos Islands and headed toward Bermuda, leaving devastation in its wake. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic were slammed with up to 30 inches of rain which triggered massive widespread flooding, mudslides, loss of power and drinking water, and destruction.
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At least three people have died, thousands have been displaced and about 80% of the island was still without power as of Tuesday, according to FEMA. More rain is forecast through the week in parts of Puerto Rico. In the Dominican Republic over 12,000 people were displaced, more than a million were without running water, more than 7000,000 homes and businesses were without power, 3,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and four bridges collapsed, the national Emergency Operations Center said.
The next named storm in the Atlantic would be Hermine.
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Here’s the latest update from the NHC as of 5 a.m. Sept. 21:
- Location: 700 miles southwest of Bermuda
- Maximum wind speed: 130 mph
- Direction: North at 8 mph
- Next advisory: 11 a.m. ET
At 8:00 a.m. EDT, the eye of Hurricane Fiona was located by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft near latitude 24.2 North, longitude 71.7 West. Fiona is moving toward the north near 8 mph. This general motion is expected to continue through this evening. A turn toward the north-northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected by Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph with higher gusts. Fiona is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some additional strengthening is forecast through tonight, with some fluctuations in intensity possible on Thursday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.
The latest minimum central pressure estimated from Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft observations is 937 mb.
A hurricane watch is in effect for:
A tropical storm warning is in effect for:
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
Spaghetti models for Hurricane Fiona
See the latest models on where Hurricane Fiona could go.
Tropical Storm Gaston
- Location: 850 miles west of the Azores
- Maximum wind speed: 65 mph
- Direction: Northeast at 16 mph
- Next advisory: 8 a.m. ET
At 5:00 a.m. EDT, the center of Tropical Storm Gaston was located near latitude 37.5 North, longitude 42.6 West.
Gaston is moving toward the northeast near 16 mph. A turn to the northeast is expected today, followed by a motion toward the east starting Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph with higher gusts. Some additional strength is possible today followed by gradual weakening. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb.
What else is out there and where are they?
Tropical wave 1: A tropical wave is producing shower and thunderstorm activity a few hundred miles east of the southern Windward Islands. The disturbance is forecast to move west-northwestward across the southern Windward Islands by late today and then move toward the central Caribbean Sea later this week. Interests in the Windward Islands should closely monitor the progress of this system as heavy rainfall and gusty winds could affect these islands beginning later today.
Tropical wave 2: A tropical wave is forecast to move off the west coast of Africa on Thursday.
Tropical wave 3: A tropical wave located several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands is producing disorganized shower activity.
How likely are they to strengthen?
Tropical wave 1: The system continues to show signs of organization and it will likely become a tropical depression within the next two or three days.
- Formation chance through 48 hours: high, 70 percent.
- Formation chance through 5 days: high, 90 percent.
Tropical wave 2: Environmental conditions are forecast to be conducive for at least gradual development of the system for a couple days thereafter while the system moves slowly northward, between west Africa and the Cabo Verde Islands, through the end of the week.
- Formation chance through 48 hours: low, 10 percent.
- Formation chance through 5 days: medium, 50 percent.
Tropical wave 3: Slow development of this system is possible over the next several days as it moves northwestward and then westward over the tropical Atlantic.
- Formation chance through 48 hours: low, near 0 percent.
- Formation chance through 5 days: low, 20 percent.
Who is likely to be impacted?
Tropical waves: It’s too early at this time to determine if there will be any impact to the U.S. from the tropical waves
Forecasters urge all residents to continue monitoring the tropics and to always be prepared during what’s expected to be an active hurricane season.
Colorado State University’s 2-week forecast for Sept. 15-28
Colorado State University’s hurricane forecast Sept. 15-28 gives the highest odds for above-normal activity — 50% — with lower odds for normal — 40% — and below-normal — 10%.
When is the Atlantic hurricane season?
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
When is the peak of hurricane season?
Although the season has gotten off to a quiet start, the peak of the season is Sept. 10, with the most activity happening between mid-August and mid-October, according to the Hurricane Center.
Weather watches and warnings issued for your area
Tropical forecast next five days
See the National Hurricane Center’s five-day graphical tropical weather outlook below.
Excessive rainfall forecast
What’s out there?
Systems currently being monitored by the National Hurricane Center.
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