UPDATE: Tropical Depression #9 has officially been upgraded to Tropical Storm Hermine.
The Florida Gulf Coast is still the landfalling-target for the approaching and still developing tropical cyclone. Trouble is twofold: this is still a disorganized storm with no real center, so all the computer models are still having trouble defining a consensus storm track solution, and the vigorous deep convection covers such a wide area, impacts are already reaching into Georgia.
Hurricane Hunters are flying TD #9 right now and are finding tropical storm force winds, with two giant areas of strong convection. Could a center be forming between these areas? If so, we would then get a Tropical Storm and the next available name is HERMINE (pronounced her-MEEN). And that is expected, the storm picking up speed intensifying through the night.
Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for all of Florida’s Big Bend counties from Tampa to Tallahassee; a Hurricane Watch has been issued in case this strong tropical storm might strengthen to a Cat 1 hurricane briefly before landfall. And Tropical Storm Watches are now moving inland into South Georgia. Advisories will continue to expand.
Our issue is first locally heavy rainfall, then the potential for prolonged damaging winds. Models are thinking 5-8” total are possible, heaviest east of I-95. Depending on the storm track, winds should peak Friday morning, possibly up to 30 mph, gusting to 55 especially along the coast. But it’s the “jumping” of the forecast track, moving north or south that is causing confusion.
And that goes back to the problem the computer models have with weak tropical systems. Two worries as well: as long as this system races across Florida and Georgia, rainfall will be dangerous but probably manageable (just don’t let the storm slow down), and the threat of severe weather with any landfalling tropical cyclone, most likely south of Jacksonville.
Also dangerous high rip currents will continue until the storm passes Friday afternoon. Plus we have a New Moon at 5:04am tomorrow morning and that engages the astral tides, with our NE winds ahead of the storm. Then as the highest winds pick up, winds will be northerly, and then more westerly as the storm passes. Lots to cover; lots to be ready for too. We’ll be watching.
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