The National Hurricane Center (NHC, in English) predicted, in its 6:00 pm report, that the Invest 91L located east of the Leeward Islands could become a Tropical depression as early as tonightand if it did not happen today, it would have a 70 percent chance of reaching that denomination in the next 48 hours.
Data collected by a hurricane hunter aircraft from the United States Air Force maintain that “the circulation associated with a low pressure area located a few hundred miles east of the Leeward Islands acquired better definition today. The aircraft also found that the pressure on the surface dropped a bit.”
“If the troughs and thunderstorms associated with this low pressure area persist through the afternoon, the system could become a tropical depression as early as tonight,” reads the report posted on the NHC website.
The federal agency added that they expect the system to continue moving at 10 miles per hour (mph) to the west-northwest, approaching the waters north of the Leeward Islands.
“Regardless of its development, local heavy shower events could occur over portions of the Leeward Islands in the coming days. It is expected to pass near or just north of the Leeward Islands by Saturday, and north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late Saturday or early Sunday.”
The NHC stressed that the probability of the system becoming a tropical depression in the next 48 hours is 70 percent, and that percentage will remain the same in the next five days.
The conditions you have experienced for the past few days Invest 91L and that have prevented it from developing into a tropical cyclone, have apparently begun to decline and could contribute to its intensification
Earlier in the day, the National Weather Service (SNM), determined that the system could pass closer to Puerto Rico, for which they detailed a series of potential impacts that could begin to be experienced as soon as tonight.
“The system is right now well east of the Lesser Antilles. This morning the zone of possible development was lowered a little and the NHC brought it closer to Puerto Rico,” explained the meteorologist. Ian Colon Paganduring a conference by video call with directors of Municipal Emergency Management Offices and the media.
Potential risks before the close passage of the Invest 91L from tonight until the beginning of next week:
– Electrical storms (lightning): Lightning may strike frequently in areas with stronger thunderstorms. The eastern area of Puerto Rico has the highest probability of experiencing these conditions.
– Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms are not only expected as part of the humidity brought by the close passage of this tropical wave, but also with the development of convection (formation of downpours) in the afternoon due to local effects.
– Excessive rain: This tropical wave does not bring much rain with it, in part because its cloudiness is not concentrated, but rather its rainy cloud areas are scattered and disorganized. However, any rain that reaches the island could spend a relatively long time on land, due to the light to moderate winds.
“Any additional rain could result in urban, flash or landslide flooding, particularly in the interior of the island, as early as tomorrow and continuing through Sunday. Most of the soils are already saturated due to the rains they have received in the past few days,” said Colón Pagán.
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The greatest impact in terms of rainfall would be in the eastern third of Puerto Rico, which includes the metropolitan area, as well as the northern half of the island.
– Winds: The winds caused by the passage of this system do not represent a threat to Puerto Rico. Even, at the moment, only maximum sustained winds of 15 to 20 miles per hour are forecast, which is the range that has already been measured in the Virgin Islands and part of the Lesser Antilles, which have already begun to receive rain bands related to the tropical wave.
However, wind gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour are possible, especially with the strongest thunderstorms.
– Ocean currents: A gradual increase in the risk of sea currents is expected, which could threaten the lives of bathers who reach the beaches this weekend, especially those exposed to the Atlantic. By early next week, this risk should be high.
– Maritime conditions: The SNM will issue a warning for boat operators in Atlantic Ocean waters. The waves could increase along with dangerous conditions for boaters in those waters where strong thunderstorms are generated.
Regarding why the system continues to approach the region, the interim director of the SNM, Ernesto Morales, explained that it is because the disturbance has not achieved a center of circulation, and therefore its translation movement will be more towards the West.
“If it develops, it will move more to the northeast, but if it doesn’t develop, the movement will be more to the west. There is an uncertainty and it is quite large. As the hours of today pass we will have a better ideabut still the potential exists for the system to develop and move further to the northeast or not to develop and move further west, ”said the meteorologist in reference to the two possible scenarios.
“It’s a pretty disorganized system that brings with it a lot of uncertainty. Therefore, it is better to be safe than to have to remedy.he pointed.
For now, the passage of this phenomenon through the area should not imply a change in the population’s routine for this weekend, because it could only be a rainy event, but both Colón Pagán and Morales urged people to monitor the system and follow only official sources of information.