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Update On Potential Tropical Cyclone # 9

Potential Tropical Cyclone # 9 has not yet made the transition into a tropical storm by 11 am on Wednesday.  While maximum sustained winds were 45 miles per hour, a closed circulation has not formed but is still expected to do so later on Wednesday.  At 11 am, Potential TC # 9 was located near 15.8 North, 63.7 West, about 150 miles south-southeast of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and 240 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The system was moving west-northwest at 23 miles per hour, which is probably hindering development.

Tropical Storm warnings are now in effect for the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas, and there’s a tropical storm watch for the central Bahamas.  As of midday on Wednesday there are no watches or warnings for Florida or the northwestern Bahamas.

Potential TC # 9 is bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to the Leeward Islands at midday on Wednesday, and it will affect the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.  The system will then move over or very near Hispaniola on Thursday and then affect the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas later in the day.

Until a closed circulation and a well-defined center form, the track of Potential TC # 9 is more uncertain than usual.  We’ll have to watch for that and for the effects of mountainous terrain in Hispaniola on the development of this system.  The midday computer model runs, however, have shifted somewhat to the west, so the Gulf Coast and the Lower and Middle Keys could be near the center of this developing system.  The worst of the weather remains on the northeastern portion of this system, so much of Florida will feel some impacts this weekend into Monday.

Here in South Florida, we need to prepare for tropical storm conditions, including gusty winds and heavy downpours from Saturday evening through Sunday morning.  Power outages are possible.  It’s time to top off your hurricane supplies.  Plan on securing any outdoor items or take them indoors by Friday night or early on Saturday, because conditions will deteriorate on Saturday afternoon.  We’ll also watch very carefully over the next day or so regarding the need to put up shutters, but at midday on Wednesday, that will probably not be necessary.

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.