By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA — Following a relatively quiet first three months of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters are currently tracking five tropical weather systems simultaneously. Apart from the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon, which is now a tropical depression located over Arkansas, four are located over open water in the Atlantic.
A trough of low pressure is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the western Atlantic Ocean. Development, if any, of this system should be slow to occur during the next few days before environmental conditions become unfavourable. This system is expected to move little during the next few days. The chance of a tropical cyclone forming during the next two days is estimated to be low (20 percent).
A disturbance in the far eastern Atlantic just off the coast of Africa has now developed into Tropical Depression Eight, moving toward the west near 10 mph (17 km/h). A westward to west-northwestward motion with a gradual increase in forward speed is expected during the next 72 hours.
Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next three days or so, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm on Friday night.
Tropical depression nine has also formed over the eastern Atlantic but is currently stationary and little motion is expected through Friday night. A westward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected this weekend and early next week.
Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected during the next 24 hours, but gradual strengthening is forecast late this weekend and early next week.
At 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, Tropical Storm Florence was located 825 miles (1,320 km) northeast of the northern Leeward Islands and about 905 miles (1,460 km) east-southeast of Bermuda, moving toward the west near 8 mph (13 km/h). This general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. A west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected during the early to middle part of next week.
On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the waters of the southwestern Atlantic Ocean through Wednesday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in intensity is expected during the next day or so, but re-strengthening is forecast over the weekend. Florence could become a hurricane again by Sunday.
Swells generated by Florence are currently affecting Bermuda and are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.