Hurricane Hunters Fly Into Tropical Disturbance, Looking For Possible Formation Into Storm

Hurricane hunters began flying into a tropical disturbance located in the northeast Caribbean on Wednesday, attempting to determine if it will become structured enough to become a depression or even a storm.

The flights determined that there were tropical storm winds, but a lack of a well defined area kept the system, Invest 99-L, as an open wave and avoided it from becoming a named storm.

In an updated outlook Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Center said satellite images indicated that shower activity had become less organized than earlier Wednesday, and it continued to lack a well-defined center.

The system was centered about 100 miles north of Puerto Rico Wednesday night. Flood watches were issued for Puerto Rico after the flights Wednesday.

Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center say it’s too early to say with confidence that South Florida will be affected in any way, saying forecast models will struggle determining an accurate track until a strong center of circulation is found. 

The NHC gives the disturbance a 50 to 80 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression and/or tropical storm in the next two to five days.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Gaston is changing little in strength as it moves in the Atlantic.

The storm's maximum sustained winds Wednesday were near 70 mph. The NHC says although Gaston could become a hurricane later in the day, some weakening is forecast on Thursday.

Gaston is centered about 1,020 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands and is moving west-northwest near 16 mph. The storm is not currently a threat to land.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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