MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A busy and active stretch continues in the tropics with five systems right now.
At 5 AM, the center of Hurricane Fiona was located near latitude 27.4 North, longitude 70.6 West. Fiona is moving toward the north-northeast near 13 mph. A north- northeastward or northeastward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected today through Friday, followed by a somewhat slower northward motion beginning Friday night or Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Fiona will pass just to the west of Bermuda tonight, approach Nova Scotia on Friday, and move across Nova Scotia and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Saturday. Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph with higher gusts.
Fiona is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Little change in strength is expected through tonight. Some weakening is expected to begin on Friday, but Fiona is forecast to still be producing hurricane-force winds Friday night and Saturday after it has become post-tropical. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles. NOAA buoy 41047, about 50 miles west-northwest of the center of Fiona, recently reported a sustained wind of 62 mph and a gust to 80 mph. The estimated minimum central pressure is 934 mb. NOAA buoy 41047 recently reported a pressure of 975.0 mb.
Fiona has prompted a HIGH SURF ADVISORY for the Carolinas today and Friday with waves of 6-7 feet. Some minor beach erosion will be possible this week from the larger waves as well. Even as Fiona passes to the east, we will hold onto a high rip current risk through Saturday before improvements arrive on Sunday. Outside of the increasing waves and rip current risk, Fiona poses no direct threats to the Carolinas.
TROPICAL STORM GASTON
At 5 AM, the center of Tropical Storm Gaston was located near latitude 40.7 North, longitude 34.5 West. Gaston is moving toward the east-northeast near 17 mph. A turn to the east is expected by tonight, and a slower southeastern or southward motion is forecast by early Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Gaston will move near or over portions of the Azores on Friday. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph with higher gusts. Gradual weakening is expected over the next few days. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 999 mb. Gaston poses NO THREAT to the Carolinas.
We turn our attention to the Caribbean this morning where a chance of development remains high over the next five days. Showers and thunderstorms continue in association with a tropical wave located over the far southeastern Caribbean Sea. Although upper-level winds are currently inhibiting development, the upper-level wind pattern ahead of the system is forecast to become a little more favorable in a couple of days, and a tropical depression is likely to form at that time. The disturbance is forecast to move west-northwestward across the eastern Caribbean Sea during the next day or two, and be over the central Caribbean Sea this weekend. Regardless of development, locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds are likely to affect the Windward Islands this morning.
These impacts are likely to spread to northern Venezuela, northeastern Colombia, and the ABC island chain during the next couple of days. The chance of development is at 70% over the next two days and 90% over the next five days. This is a system that poses a LOW THREAT to the Carolinas at this point. It’s simply too far out right now to know where this system will go. We will be able to have a better understanding with this system by next week.
OTHER CHANCES OF DEVELOPMENT
Eastern Tropical Atlantic
Showers and thunderstorms located near the west coast of Africa are associated with a tropical wave that is expected to move over the warm waters of the far eastern Atlantic later today. Thereafter, environmental conditions are forecast to be conducive for some development, and a tropical depression could form by this weekend while the system moves slowly northward, between west Africa and the Cabo Verde Islands. The chance of development is at 60% over the next two and five days.
East Central Tropical Atlantic
A broad area of low pressure located several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands continues to produce disorganized showers and thunderstorms. Despite marginal environmental conditions, some slow development of this system is possible over the next several days while it moves slowly northwestward or northward over the tropical Atlantic. The chance of development is at 20% over the next two days and 30% over the next five days.
These two chances of development DO NOT pose any threat to the Carolinas.
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