October 22, 2010

Richard Spinning In Caribbean; Hurricane is Next Step

UPDATED 8:15 AM EDT, October 22, 2010
Tropical Storm Richard is barely moving and remains a weak system. The system is expected to start moving again today could still become the season`s 10th hurricane this weekend. It could threaten Mexico`s Yucatan Peninsula early next week and move into the southern Gulf of Mexico in a weakened state by the middle of next week.

A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect along the coast of Honduras from the Nicaragua/Honduras border westward to Limon. As of 8 a.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Richard was located at 15.9 N and 80.7 W, or about 235 miles south of Grand Cayman and 175 miles east-northeast of Cabo Gracias A Dios on the Nicaragua and Honduras border. This places it about 600 miles south of Key West, Fla. It is packing sustained winds of 40 mph, and is stationary. It will begin a slow drift to the west over the next day or so. Its minimum central pressure has risen to 29.71 inches, or 1006 mb.

Conditions will become more favorable for Richard to grow into a hurricane. The water is very warm in this area and upper-level winds will likely slacken enough to allow this system to become more organized. The exact track Richard takes from there remains uncertain, with the official forecast pushing it toward the Yucatan Peninsula or northern Belize. The peninsula will significantly weaken the storm, it’s uncertain what shape it will take if and when it moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

Whether it is just remnant storms, or it strengthens back to a tropical storm, heavy rain would follow it toward the U.S. coast. For this reason, residents of the Gulf Coast would be wise to keep a close eye on this storm as it continues to strengthen through the weekend.

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