Déjà vu after Dorian: Tropical Storm Warning in Bahamas, Watch in Florida

UPDATE — Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine is expected to become a tropical depression or tropical storm later Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11am advisory.

Also, the storm has been changing speeds as it heads from the Bahamas, toward Florida. At 11am, it was barely moving: at just *1* mph to the northwest. The 8am advisory had it moving near 6 mph, and Thursday night it was stationary.

Also, the Tropical Storm Watch in Florida was extended north to the Volusia-Flagler County line, so Volusia County (Daytona Beach) is now included.

Click the National Weather Service’s local maps below for details on those areas.

Map of Forecast Area
Map of Forecast Area
Map of Forecast Area

Look for more updates here shortly after 2pm, since graphics on this page update automatically. Full advisories come every six hours (5am, 11am, 5pm and 11pm using Eastern Daylight Time) and intermediate advisories come every three hours in between (8am, 2pm, 8pm, 2am).

It’s called Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine, but the long name could be bring back short memories of Hurricane Dorian — which devastated the northwestern Bahamas and gave Florida a big scare — just two weeks ago.

Thursday night at 8, the National Hurricane Center was reporting

“A tropical disturbance stationary over the southeastern Bahamas,” and “Tropical cyclone expected to form near the northwestern Bahamas by the weekend.”

The disturbance, with a “poorly defined center,” has maximum sustained winds of just 30 mph, and like Dorian, it’s sitting over the Bahamas, delivering constant wind and rain — but this time, it’s the southeastern Bahamas and the storm is certainly not as powerful.

However, “The disturbance is forecast to become a tropical depression or a tropical storm during the next day or so.”

That had the National Hurricane Center issue a Tropical Storm Warning for the northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island. A Tropical Storm Warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

Then, at 11pm Thursday, it issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the coast of east-central Florida from Jupiter Inlet — in northern Palm Beach County — northward to the Brevard-Volusia County line. A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Furthermore, “Interests elsewhere along the east coast of Florida should monitor the progress of this system. Additional watches and warnings may be required for portions of this area later (Friday).”

By early Friday, the system is expected to move slowly toward the northwest, bringing tropical storm conditions within the warning area in the northwest Bahamas, and that movement is expected to continue over the next two days.

That track should have the system moving “across the central and northwestern Bahamas on Friday, and along or over the east coast of Florida on Saturday.”

Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area on the Florida peninsula by Saturday.

The storm may just be a tropical disturbance but, “Environmental conditions are favorable for a tropical depression or tropical storm to form within the next day or two.”

By now, you know to focus on the entire cone, rather than just the line running through the middle, because it considers the experts’ and computer models’ growing margin of error for the center of the storm. Also keep in mind the many changes to the cone during Hurricane Dorian.

cone graphic
from the National Hurricane Center
[Image of probabilities of 34-kt winds]
from the National Hurricane Center
time of arrival graphic
from the National Hurricane Center
[Image of initial wind radii]
from the National Hurricane Center

In fact, the storm’s formation chance over the next 48 hours is in the “high” range at 80 percent. The storm’s formation chance over the next five days is even higher, at 90 percent.

Unfortunately, survivors and relief workers in the northwest Bahamas should expect tropical storm conditions within the warning area by late Friday.

Remember not to focus on the exact track since typical forecast errors at day 4 are about 155 miles, and at day 5, about 205 miles.

8pm Thursday
11am Friday
from the National Hurricane Center

The system is expected to produce rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches through Sunday over the Bahamas, and along the east coast of Florida north of West Palm Beach. Isolated maximum amounts of 7 inches are possible in the northwest and central Bahamas.

[Image of WPC QPF U.S. rainfall potential]

Luckily, this weak (for now) system is not expected to product significant storm surge in the northwest Bahamas.

The system is not a tropical depression because it “has not developed a closed circulation yet, but the cloud pattern is gradually becoming better organized. … Advisories are being initiated on this system as a Potential Tropical Cyclone to allow for the issuance of a Tropical Storm Warning for a portion of the northwest Bahamas after consultation with the meteorological service of that country.”

As always this time of year, make sure to have your hurricane plan in place. That means keeping a week’s worth of the basic items you’d need on hand throughout every hurricane season (June 1 through Nov. 30).

ThePhillyFiles.com is covering this story early, as it did with Dorian, due to the threat to Florida, where everyone seems to have a connection.

[Key Messages]

Charity Navigator set up a Hurricane Dorian page, showing more than a dozen highly-rated organizations providing aid and relief.

Click here for information on going to volunteer in the Bahamas.

Click here for the latest from the Bahamian government.

Continuing Coverage: Hurricane Dorian


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