The area of low pressure north of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico is likely to develop into a tropical system that could reach hurricane strength as it approaches the Bahamas and the east coast of Florida, and residents should be prepared, said the acting deputy director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Michael Brennan.
Brennan said Sunday during an update on the system that people in those areas should make sure they are prepared, know if they are in flood zones and have all their supplies ready.
“Fill the tank of the car with gasoline, have cash, your medicines, food and water,” he said.
The NHC detailed in its 1:00 p.m. bulletin that people on the southeastern coast of the United States, the east coast of Florida, the central and northwestern Bahamas should watch for the development of “this system as a tropical storm or a hurricane, and early warnings could be issued on Monday for these areas.”
The probability of system formation is 80% at 48 hours and 90% at five days.
If a tropical storm were to form, it would be called Nicole and it would be the fourteenth of the Atlantic hurricane season that began on June 1 and ends on November 30.
Brennan explained that the low pressure has a high probability of becoming a subtropical or tropical system possibly in two days and the eye is trying to form north of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.
By the time it is near the Bahamas and the east coast of Florida on Wednesday or Thursday the NHC would be more accurate as to whether the system will have 65 mph winds or reach hurricane-force winds.
“One of the aspects that we want to emphasize is that it is a very large system and it is very likely that we will see impacts in a large area regardless of where it goes (…) We will have a very large zone of winds on the coast eastern United States, including the east coast of Florida, the Carolinas and Georgia for several days,” he said.
The director of the NHC informed that the system would affect with strong winds, intense rains, floods, beach erosion, high waves and powerful maritime currents. It would possibly cause waves of more than 20 to 25 feet in height, it would drop 8 to 10 inches of rain and for a long period of time.
Evacuations could even be called in if there was a risk of serious flooding, he warned.
NBC6 meteorologist John Morales said the state of Florida has been hit nine times by tropical systems this month over the last 170 years, about a 5 percent chance in any given year.
“While the low is likely to be a subtropical or tropical storm at worst, there are one or two models forecasting a November hurricane for South Florida,” he said.
Seven of those nine were from the Western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. That makes this week’s developing system, should it consolidate and hit Florida, pretty rare, Morales said.
“But what is exceptionally rare is for the Florida panhandle to be hit by a hurricane, regardless of where it originated, in the month of November. There is only one recorded hurricane that hit the peninsula in November, dating back to 1851: the so-called Yankee hurricane that hit Miami Beach (near present-day Bal Harbour) on November 4, 1935. It was a Category 2!” .
Concern in areas flooded by Ian
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) reported that it is monitoring the trajectory of the Invest 98L system and its possible strengthening and impact in Florida. He also asked residents to take proper precautions.
“As the Division continues to support communities in their recovery from Hurricane Ian, we are now closely monitoring 98L,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “It is critical that Floridians review their disaster preparedness plans and follow all instructions from local officials in anticipation of potential impacts.”
FDEM remains in constant communication with emergency management officials in all 67 counties to identify potential resource gaps and implement plans that will allow the state to respond quickly and efficiently prior to the potential strengthening of Invest. 98L, Guthrie said in a statement.
AccuWeather meteorologists agreed with the NHC in saying that rough seas and torrential rains will be ongoing concerns for residents in some coastal areas.
And problems along the Atlantic coast this week could be made worse by a full moon, which tends to raise tide levels compared to the rest of the month. The next full moon will occur on Tuesday, November 8, right on Election Day in the United States, he added.
“The stormy seas from the tropical storm alone could affect cruise lines, commercial fishing vessels and global shipping operations from the Caribbean to the western Atlantic,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Adam Douty said.
The NHC reported that a marine advisory has been issued regarding significant or potentially dangerous conditions that could be registered in the sea with waves with a height of 1/3 higher than normal. “Individual waves can be more than twice the significant height of a wave.”
In Volusia County, in the central east of the state, authorities Thursday asked residents living along the coast to be vigilant about the system and start preparing immediately.
“This new system heading our way can significantly threaten those properties with more erosion,” said Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Judge.
Volusia and Seminole, among other Florida counties, are still recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Ian on September 28.
Alan Harris, manager of the Seminole County Emergency Management agency, said the water level could rise two inches if a depression or tropical storm forms, which is of concern because the area still has 30 flooded roads and is in recovery process.
The NHC also reported that a well-defined area of low pressure located several hundred miles east of Bermuda could form into a short-lived tropical depression and a storm was likely to form through Sunday as the system slowly moved over the Mid-Atlantic.
Thereafter, the system is forecast to turn to the northeast and merge with a strong cold front in the middle of this week.
Its probability of formation at 48 hours and at five days is 70%.
This story was originally published on November 6, 2022 8:33 a.m.