Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hurricane Center: 'High' chance tropical wave turns into cyclone

 The National Hurricane Center said there is a "high" chance that a tropical wave that extends from the Northern Leeward Islands westward to the island of Hispaniola will develop into a tropical storm or hurricane over the next 48 hours.

"Although the system does not yet have a closed circulation, satellite imagery suggests that a surface low pressure are is becoming better defined just north of the eastern tip of Hispaniola," the Hurricane Center said in a statement released at 2 p.m. EDT. "Environmental conditions are expected to be favorable for additional development as the system moves west-northwestward at about 10 mph during the next day or so."

The system was forecast to produce heavy rains and gusty winds over the next several days in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Domincan Republic, Haiti, eastern Cuba, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas.

As for a projected path for the system, most computer models have the system crossing the Florida peninsula or the Keys and entering the Gulf of Mexico before again hitting land anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to the central Texas coast.

Accuweather.com offered the following guidance:
AccuWeather.com meteorologists are focusing on two potential scenarios.

The first depicts the storm developing, crossing Florida early in the weekend and entering the eastern Gulf of Mexico as a weaker system.

Impacts over the oil spill site in the central Gulf would be less than were caused by Hurricane Alex, which moved through the southern Gulf of Mexico in late June.

The second scenario depicts the system moving through the Florida Keys late in the week, developing into a stronger tropical storm or hurricane. If this were to happen, impacts to the spill site will be increased.

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