A disorganized cluster of storms in the Atlantic Ocean just east of the Leeward Islands has been named “Potential Tropical Cyclone Six” (PTC Six) by the National Hurricane Center. The storm will move into the eastern Caribbean Tuesday, then track over the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before approaching South Florida this weekend.
The storm is ill-defined, with no center of circulation clearly identified. Because of this, the uncertainty in the forecast is relatively high. However, model consensus has been very consistent, putting storm into the eastern Gulf of Mexico by this weekend. Spaghetti plots are tightly packed, indicating that the various forecast models are in close agreement regarding the storm’s track.
PTC Six is projected to become and stay a weak tropical storm. If it does make tropical storm strength, it would be named “Fred”. It will likely not become a hurricane. Currently, it is in located in an area with very dry air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere, which will hinder any significant development in the short term. As it approaches Cuba, Florida and the eastern Gulf, it will enter an area with elevated wind shear, which will also keep its strength low.
Parts of the Lesser Antilles will continue to experience gusty winds, showers and thunderstorms into at least early Tuesday.
Locally heavy rain and gusty winds will then move across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Tuesday and the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Wednesday.
Up to 6 inches of rain could fall in these areas, triggering localized flash flooding and mudslides
Dry air, land interaction and possibly increased wind shear could all be factors that limit this system’s ability to intensify later this week as it tracks in the general direction of Hispaniola, Cuba, the southern Bahamas and Florida.
More of those negative factors, such as a track over Hispaniola’s rugged mountains or more wind shear could dissipate the system. Less of those factors, such as a track avoiding much of the Caribbean islands, could result in a stronger “Fred”.
Given all the potential obstacles we described above, it’s too early to determine what, if any, other impacts there might be in Florida this weekend.
Regardless, it appears at least a surge of moisture will arrive in Florida this weekend, wringing out more frequent, concentrated areas of heavier rain than your more typical afternoon thunderstorms provide.
For now, interests from the Caribbean to the Bahamas and Florida should monitor its progress over the coming days. Now is a good time to refresh or develop your hurricane plans.
Tropical activity typically increases during August as we get closer to the peak of hurricane season so it is no surprise that there is an area to watch for tropical development.