Tropical disturbance gets organized, approaches Caribbean islands

By Bryan Norcross - Hurricane Specialist

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - A TROPICAL DISTURBANCE IS CRAWLING TO THE NORTH OVER FLORIDA.  IT WILL LIKELY ORGANIZE AND STRENGTHEN AFTER IT MOVES AWAY FROM THE STATE BY LATE SUNDAY.  AND… FAR OUT IN THE ATLANTIC A TROPICAL DISTURBANCE IS GETTING ORGANIZED.  THE COMPUTER MODELS FORECAST IT TO HEAD IN THE DIRECTION OF THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS.  PEOPLE THERE SHOULD BE AWARE.

The tropical disturbance over South Florida is very disorganized and drifting slowly north.  Late tomorrow or on Monday, it is forecast to curve to the right, and move off the East-Central Florida coast.  As it crosses the Gulf Stream, the system is expected to organize and strengthen.  The computer forecast models show a tropical storm or possibly eventually a hurricane well off the coast of the Carolinas early next week.  

As always with disorganized systems, forecasts are iffy.  But the only threat to South Florida appears to be from heavy rain.  And even that is not certain.  A lot of dry air has wrapped into the system.  People along the Georgia and Carolina coast will have to watch it closely.

Way out in the Atlantic, over 1,000 miles east of the Caribbean islands, a tropical wave is trying hard to organize into a small tropical depression.  It has a lot of dry air near it, which appears to be inhibiting its development, and small systems are especially vulnerable to unfavorable surrounding conditions.  In any case, it will be near or over the islands early in the week.  Everybody there should pay attention to the latest forecasts.  

In the long range, the atmospheric conditions over and around the Caribbean appear to be unfavorable for the system to continue to organize and strengthen.  Though it may affect the northern Caribbean islands in some fashion.

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Another tropical wave has moved off of Africa, but it's running into the same dry air.  Otherwise, no tropical development is expected.

AUGUST 24, 1992:  When the sun rose on that Monday, 27 years ago today, nobody in South Dade could believe what they saw.  Everybody knew it had been a ferocious storm.  Hundreds of thousands of people had just experienced the scariest 3 ½ hours of their lives.  But even with that, nobody was ready for the change that Andrew brought.

People were afraid to wander far from home because everything looked different.  Street signs were missing, and in those pre-GPS years, you could get lost, but just be one block away from home.

Flat tires were guaranteed if your car wasn't destroyed.  When the streets were finally passable, South Dade roadways looked like rolling junkyards.  

The power was out, so the nights were dark as death.  Nothing would fully dry in the tropical humidity, and then the rains came.  Drenching, powerful rain poured from the heavens at the end of week.  The winds blew tarps off barely livable homes.  Mother Nature would not let up on South Dade.

Government ceased to function.  Anarchy reigned.  Six nights after the storm, the U.S. military restored order, and people could finally sleep.  

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