Tropical Depression Nine Could Become Major Hurricane Threat For Florida

  • Tropical Depression Nine is located in the Caribbean Sea and will soon become a tropical storm.
  • It could track near Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and western Cuba early next week, possibly as a hurricane.
  • It could become a major hurricane threat to Florida and the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
  • Then it could follow near the coast or inland east later next week.
  • Interests in those areas should have their hurricane safety plans ready to go.

Tropical Depression Nine is moving through the Caribbean Sea and could become a major hurricane threat to the western Caribbean and southeastern US, including Florida, next week.

We are still in the early stages of following this latest system. There are aspects of the forecast in which we are more confident, while others remain uncertain, which is typical of tropical forecasts this far in time.


Here’s a look at everything we know now.

Latest Status

Tropical Depression Nine is located in the central Caribbean Sea and moves west-northwest.

Still dealing with wind shear, but was finally organized enough to be considered a tropical depression on Friday morning.

Heavy rain is currently the biggest threat to this system in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Flash floods and mudslides are possible in these areas.


Satellite and location

(The icon shows the location of the center of the system.)

Forecast track, intensity

The system is forecast to turn into a tropical storm later today or tonight.

It would be called Hermine or Ian, depending on whether it or another Far Eastern Atlantic system becomes a tropical storm first.

This future tropical storm is forecast by the National Hurricane Center and will become a hurricane in the northwest Caribbean late this weekend or early next week. During that time, rapid intensification is possible, meaning an increase in wind speed of at least 35 mph in 24 hours or less.

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It could then be anywhere from the eastern Gulf of Mexico to near the Florida peninsula as a major hurricane (category 3 or stronger) by next Tuesday or Wednesday.


Projected path and latest storm information

(The red shaded area indicates the potential path from the center of the tropical cyclone. It is important to note that effects (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding, wind) with a tropical cyclone usually spread beyond the predicted path .)

Lower wind shear and an ample supply of warm, deep water in the Caribbean Sea are expected to help strengthen the system in the coming days.

L​en interaction with Cuba could be a slight barrier to its development ahead of a possible approach to the eastern Gulf of Mexico or Florida early next week.


Ocean heat content

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(This map shows areas of deep, warm water color-coded according to legend. All other factors being equal, deep, warm water helps encourage the intensification of tropical storms and hurricanes.)

Caribbean threats

As mentioned earlier, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are currently facing a threat of heavy rain.

Those interested in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba should keep a close eye on the forecast for this system.

Flooding rain could at least be a concern in these areas as of this weekend. Depending on the exact track and strength of this system, tropical storm or even hurricane conditions may also occur.

What is the threat from the US?

Contrary to what we’ve seen with Hurricanes Earl and Fiona, this system’s forecasted tailwinds will pose a significant threat to the mainland US next week.

The majority of computer forecasting models curl the system to a location anywhere from the eastern Gulf of Mexico to near Florida or even off the Atlantic coast of Florida in the time frame from Tuesday to Wednesday. It can have hurricane strength if it tracks near these areas.

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That said, a stalled front will keep South Florida stormy this weekend, and tires with heavier rain well ahead of the system could arrive in South Florida as early as Monday.


Computer model prediction will follow next 5 days

(The lines in this image represent some of the many track predictions from various computer models. This is not an official prediction, but they are used as a guideline for creating the projected path.)

This isn’t just a Florida or Gulf Coast story.

This system will then either head inland somewhere across the southeastern US, or follow near or along parts of the East Coast later next week.

It’s far too early to say where this system will end, but by the end of next week there could be wind, flooding and other effects extending to other parts of the east.

For now, all interests near and along the Gulf Coast, including Florida, and in the eastern US should follow the forecast and ensure hurricane plans are in place, should they be needed.

Check back on weather.com for the latest on this evolving situation.

More from weather.com:

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The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on the latest weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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