Tropical Depression IX has formed in the central Caribbean, and the Florida peninsula is already included in the cone of uncertainty for the system that is likely to become either Hurricane Hermine or Ian in the coming days.
This tropical depression joins two other systems currently roaming the Atlantic basin, including Hurricane Fiona, which will hit Atlantic Canada this weekend, and Tropical Storm Gaston near the Azores. There are also two tropical perturbations, Invest 90L and Invest 99L, that are being monitored for development over the next few days.
While there’s still a lot we don’t know about the future of Tropical Depression IX, here’s everything the FOX Forecast Center can tell you now ahead of this potential hurricane threat to the Southeast US
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Where is the ninth tropical depression?
As of Friday morning, Tropical Depression IX was in the central Caribbean and centered more than 600 miles east – southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and more than 1,100 miles east – southeast of Havana, Cuba.
The newly formed tropical depression had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was moving from west to northwest at 13 mph.
Once this system’s winds reach 39 mph or higher, it will become a tropical storm, and the National Hurricane Center will designate the next name on this year’s naming list. This could be either Hermine or Ian, depending on whether this system or Invest 90L in the tropical eastern Atlantic will become a tropical storm first.
The Hurricane Hunters are on their way right now to Tropical Depression Nine to collect data that will be used to help NHC meteorologists make forecasts about the storm.
What is the difference between a tropical depression, a tropical storm, and a hurricane?
What is the outlook for the ninth tropical depression?
Tropical Depression IX is expected to become a tropical storm later Friday or Friday night.
Only a slow intensification is expected over the next day or two, followed by a more significant intensification this weekend and early next week.
The current projection from the NHC shows that this system has become a hurricane in the northwest Caribbean either late this weekend or early next week.
What is the “cone of uncertainty” in a hurricane forecast?
By next Tuesday or Wednesday, this potential hurricane is expected to fall somewhere between the eastern Gulf of Mexico and near or over the Florida peninsula.
According to the FOX Forecast Center, Tropical Depression 9 is still battling wind shear — winds that change direction and speed at different altitudes — preventing thunderstorms associated with the system from developing, and that is expected to continue through Friday.
However, the NHC determined that the system was at least regulated enough to be declared a tropical depression on Friday morning.
This weekend, Tropical Depression IX is expected to move into a region of the Caribbean that has much lower wind shear and an abundant supply of warm, deep water.
What is WIND SHEAR?
Water temperatures in this part of the Caribbean are in the upper 80s, two degrees above average, providing ample fuel for this system to ramp up over the coming days.
However, one dampening factor could be the ground interaction with Cuba early next week before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of the week.
What are the expected effects of the Ninth Tropical Depression in the Caribbean?
The main concern of Tropical Depression 9 is the current heavy rain in northern Venezuela, northern Colombia and the so-called ABC island chain in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Several inches of rain are expected in these areas, according to the FOX Forecasting Center.
Heavy rain may also affect Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, southern Haiti and southern Dominican Republic starting this weekend.
Depending on the exact path and severity of Tropical Depression IX, there could also be tropical storm strength (39 mph) or hurricane strength winds (74 mph) in these areas.
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What threat will Tropical Depression IX pose to Florida and the US Gulf Coast?
Tropical Depression IX is expected to be directed in the general direction of the eastern Gulf of Mexico and near the Florida peninsula by the middle of next week.
The vast majority of computer forecast models indicate that the storm is likely to be a hurricane as it heads toward the US mainland
However, newly developed tropical cyclone forecasts are challenging, so don’t be surprised if the forecast for Tropical Depression IX undergoes several changes — some potentially significant — over the next several days.
Solutions from computer models currently range from the eastern Gulf of Mexico to near or near the Atlantic coast of Florida, so everyone in this general area should start their preparations now in the event of a potential hurricane next week.
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So the bottom line is that it’s still too early to know exactly where this system is headed, but know that there is a growing threat of a powerful hurricane to affect the southeastern United States in the middle of next week.
This system will be closely monitored by FOX Forecasting as it strengthens and tracks across the Caribbean in the coming days.