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It’s All About The Tropics

South Florida will see a couple of days of typical August weather, but from Sunday on, it’s all about the tropics.  We’re closely monitoring Tropical Depression # 13, which is on its way to our general vicinity.  And we also have Tropical Depression # 14 in the Caribbean.

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Here at home, Friday features a mix of sun and clouds in the morning.  Then showers and storms will pop up in the afternoon, especially along the Gulf Coast and in the interior.  Highs on Friday will be in the low 90s — but it will feel about 10 degrees hotter.

Saturday will bring plenty of clouds to the Gulf coast and a mix of sun and clouds in the east coast metro area.  Look for afternoon showers and storms.  Saturday’s highs will be in the low 90s.

Sunday’s weather will depend on the track and strength of what is now Tropical Depression # 13.  At this point, some sun, clouds, and a few showers will be around on Sunday morning, and showers, storms, and gusty winds will dominate the afternoon.  Tropical storm force winds are possible during the late night hours and into Monday.  Sunday’s highs will be in the low 90s.

TD # 13 is expected to make its nearest approach to South Florida on Monday.  There is a great deal of uncertainty in the track and strength of this system, but tropical storm force winds and periods of heavy rains are possible.  Monday’s highs should top out in the upper 80s.

Tuesday will see TD # 13 pulling away, with conditions improving from southeast to northwest across South Florida.  The morning will be cloudy and quite gusty, and the afternoon will see winds gradually taper off and some sun return.  Tuesday’s  highs will be in the low 90s.

Tropical Depression # 13 is quite disorganized as it approaches the Leeward Islands early on Friday, but it’s still expected to strengthen.  At 5 am, TD # 13 was located near 17.8 North, 58.5 West, about 300 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands.  Maximum sustained winds were 35 miles per hour.  TD # 13 is moving west-northwest at 21 miles per hour.  Tropical storm watches are in effect for portions of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Turks and Caicos, and the southeastern Bahamas.  The forecast beyond that is, because possible interaction with Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and eastern Cuba could weaken this system — and lack of interaction could enhance strengthening.  The current National Hurricane Center forecast calls for this system to reach hurricane strength on Monday or early Tuesday.  We need to check supplies now and prepare on Sunday, which includes securing or removing anything outside that could be picked up in strong winds.  We should know on Saturday if we should put up shutters on Sunday (and have them in place before nightfall).

In the Caribbean, Tropical Depression # 14 was approaching the central American coast early on Friday.  At 5 am, TD # 14 was about 30 miles north-northeast of the Nicaraguan/Honduran border.  Maximum sustained winds were 35 miles per hour, and the system was moving west-northwest at 12 miles per hour.  TD # 14 is forecast to cross the Yucatan, strengthen into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, and make landfall along the Texas or Louisiana coast on Tuesday.  (There is even the possibility that TD # 14 and TD # 13 will interact with each other in the Gulf, making for an even more complicated forecast.)  Finally, a wave entering the eastern Atlantic has a medium chance of developing into a depression during the next 5 days.

Donna Thomas has studied hurricanes for two decades. She holds a PhD in history when her experience with Hurricane Andrew ultimately led her to earn a degree in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. Donna spent 15 years at WFOR-TV (CBS4 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale), where she worked as a weather producer with hurricane experts Bryan Norcross and David Bernard. She also produced hurricane specials and weather-related features and news coverage, as well as serving as pool TV producer at the National Hurricane Center during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Donna also served as a researcher on NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. Donna specializes in Florida's hurricane history.