October 21, 2010

Tropical Depression 19 Forms In Caribbean

The season`s newest tropical depression is slowly getting better organized this morning, soon after forming Wednesday evening. The tropical depression located in the northwestern Caribbean could become the next tropical storm of the season in the next few days, and could even reach hurricane strength.

At 5 a.m. EDT, Tropical Depression Nineteen was located at 17.0 N and 80.7 W, or about 160 miles south-southeast of Grand Cayman, and about 500 miles south of Key West, Fla. It is packing sustained winds of 35 mph, and is moving to the southeast at 3 mph. Its minimum central pressure is 29.68 inches, or 1005 mb.

Conditions are looking more favorable for additional development today as the low pressure remains over the warm open water. Current forecasts have the system becoming a tropical storm in the next 24 hours or so. When this occurs, it would be given the name "Richard." In addition, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center indicate the tropical depression will continue to loop around to the west, and continue to strengthen, possibly even into a hurricane, through the early part of the weekend.

The exact track the low pressure takes from there remains uncertain, with the official forecast pushing it toward the Yucatan Peninsula. The peninsula will significantly weaken the storm, so 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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