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Nothing is organized in the tropics at the moment, but there are 3 areas to watch

Tropics Overview.
Tropics Overview. (NHC/NOAA)

The tropical disturbance pushing through the northeastern Caribbean islands today is the only system that exists at the moment, and it has been shredded by strong upper level winds. The thunderstorms have not been able to organize enough for it to be designated a tropical depression or tropical storm. But, there are gusty squalls in the broad circulation, so people on those islands will know a disturbance is coming by.

It will pass by Puerto Rico later today and tomorrow, and could bring periods of rain. The National Weather Service has flood alerts in effect.

Out in the Atlantic east of Bermuda, a non-tropical disturbance is forecast to develop a few days from now. The long-range forecast models have been in decent agreement that something might organize there over the weekend and then slowly track back toward the U.S. East Coast.

If that happens, the system could become tropical enough over the still-warm Atlantic waters to rate advisories from the National Hurricane Center and perhaps get a name. The next name on the Greek-alphabet list is Epsilon.

It doesn’t appear at this time that this system would be a threat to Florida, if it threatens land at all, but it hasn’t even formed yet so it’s too early to be sure about anything. We’ll know more in a few days.

Speaking of systems that haven’t formed yet, there is the potential disturbance in the southwestern Caribbean. Several ingredients could come together in about a week to generate and support an organized storm.

Any future track is uncertain. It might interact in some fashion with the developing non-tropical system, so there are moving parts on top of moving parts.

Historical October Storm Tracks.
Historical October Storm Tracks. (NOAA)

We have heightened awareness about systems in this area because it’s a historical breeding ground for mid to late October tropical storms and hurricanes. That doesn’t mean that every potential system turns into something bad, of course. But when the long-range computer models forecast atmospheric conditions that seem conducive for development, we make note.

On the map from the National Hurricane Center, notice that historically storms have tracked north over a wide area from the Gulf to the Atlantic. But when a system has formed, the favored track has been over or near Florida. Of course, in many years, no systems form in that location at all.

Nothing is going to happen through the weekend, at least. By early next week, we should have a better picture of whether these systems are going to amount to anything or not.


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