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A disturbance heads toward the eastern Caribbean, then we’ll watch the western Caribbean next week

Oct. 14 satellite image of the tropics.
Oct. 14 satellite image of the tropics. (CIRA/RAMMB)

The tropical disturbance just east of the Caribbean is battling strong upper-level winds as it crawls toward the islands. Unless something very unexpected happens, the hostile upper environment is likely to keep it from developing an organized, tight circulation, but it can’t be completely ruled out. Sometimes, an undetectable perturbation in the flow relaxes the upper winds just enough to allow systems to organize, at least briefly, although in this case the chances of that look slight.

Most likely, the disturbance will slowly move through the northeastern Caribbean islands tonight and tomorrow as a gusty moisture surge, and then slowly continue to the west. The increased moisture should reach Puerto Rico late tomorrow into Friday as the system migrates across the Caribbean and the northern islands.

Right now, it appears that leftover moisture from the disturbance will avoid South Florida with a weak cold front pushing through, though it will be close.

Farther south, we will continue to watch the southwestern Caribbean for development next week. A broad area of low pressure already covers Central America. By the middle of next week, several of the long-range computer forecast models show an atmospheric pattern conducive for development, and what’s left of the tropical disturbance might add to the cocktail of factors.

Where named storms formed Oct. 14-27, 1966-2019. (Phil Klotzbach)

We watch this area especially closely this time of year because, in modern times, the strong hurricanes that formed in the middle and end of October all came out of the Caribbean.

Nothing is there now, and the upper-level winds over the Caribbean are currently not supportive of tropical development. But a change in the pattern, which includes another front pushing into the Gulf, could support something organizing mid to late next week.

There is no way to know how strong it would be and where it would go, even if it develops. So the bottom line is, for now, we just stay aware.

About the Author:

Bryan Norcross is currently a hurricane specialist at Local 10 News, the station where he began his stretch on television in Miami in 1983.