July 20, 2010

Tropical Wave in Caribbean Nearing Cyclone Strength

According to the National Hurricane Center a "vigorous" tropical wave is becoming better organized and has a 40 percent chance of turning into a tropical cyclone by Thursday.

The wave is over the northern Leeward Islands, this system is just over 900 miles southeast of Miami, Florida.. Hurricane center forecasters have been watching the wave since the weekend, when it was about 100 miles east of the Leeward Islands at the edge of the Caribbean Sea.

The wave has winds of 35 mph and is heading west-northwest at 10 mph. It has become better organized by the day, though it is showing no circulation that would make it a tropical storm or depression. Atmospheric conditions are favorable for some development and the National Hurricane Center is indicating a 60% chance that the wave could become a tropical depression within the next 48 hours. Computer models are forecasting the wave to continue moving west-northwest over the Bahamas, then possibly across the southern Florida Peninsula or through the Florida Straits Friday or Saturday. There is a possibility that the system could enter the eastern Gulf and be steered towards the Florida Panhandle or central Gulf Coast over the weekend.

Intensity models predict this system may become a tropical storm or weak hurricane within the next 5 days. The next name on the 2010 list is Bonnie. Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system on Wednesday.

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