Pair of tropical systems threaten Mexico and the US

Double trouble: Pair of tropical systems could near US as powerful storms early next week

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA. – A pair of tropical depressions were forecast to approach U.S. shores as more potent systems by early next week, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday. 

“We could actually have Laura AND Marco sharing the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, and both making U.S. landfalls on Monday,” University of Miami meteorologist Brian McNoldy said.

One system, now dubbed Tropical Depression 13, was forecast to menace Florida as a hurricane by Monday. The current path for the system includes South Florida; the center of the cone of uncertainty cuts through the Keys on Monday into Tuesday before making its way into the warm Gulf of Mexico.

The other system, Tropical Depression 14, now in the Caribbean, was forecast to approach the Texas Gulf Coast on Monday or Tuesday as a strong tropical storm, though the track and force that far out remained highly uncertain. 

Tropical Depression 13 formed overnight with the National Hurricane Center forecasting a ramp-up to a hurricane with 75 mph winds by early next week.

The forecast path of Tropical Depression 13 shows it approaching Florida as a hurricane on Monday.
The forecast path of Tropical Depression 13 shows it approaching Florida as a hurricane on Monday.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the depression was about 615 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. It was moving west-northwest at 21 mph.

Tropical Depression 13 will become a tropical storm when its winds reach 39 mph. The next names on the 2020 hurricane list are Laura, Marco and Nana.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and several other Caribbean islands. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

The system will be steered by a Bermuda High as it slides along underneath the massive clockwise swirl of winds in the Atlantic.

While the U.S. forecast model, or GFS, and the reliable Euro model show the system dissolving into an open wave at the end of the five-day forecast period, the HWRF/HMON forecast the cyclone to intensify into a major hurricane.

NHC senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven noted that the intensity forecast is “more uncertain than usual.”

Its ultimate strength is also dependent on what islands it thrashes along the way. With towering ranges in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola in its potential path, as well as Cuba, it could be disrupted enough to dissipate into a wave as forecast by the GFS and Euro.

As for Tropical Depression 14, the system was forecast to graze the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua and Honduras, then curve across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula over the weekend, the Hurricane Center said. 

As of Thursday, it was centered about 155 miles east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Honduras-Nicaragua border, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. It was headed west at 18 mph.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for portions of the coasts of Honduras and Nicaragua. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are

expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 12 hours, the Hurricane Center said.

Source: USA TODAY

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