As of 4 am CDT this morning, TD9 had maximum sustained winds at 35 mph and was moving to the west-northwest at 13 mph. The center was located around 615 miles to the east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. A turn more westward is forecast over the next day or so, followed by a turn back to the west-northwest and northwest by this weekend.
The latest forecast projections have TD9 strengthening into a tropical storm later today and becoming a hurricane by late Sunday or early Monday morning. An Air Force Reserve Reconnaissance mission will be investigating the system later this morning to provide more information of the system’s structure and intensity.
For now, the forecast track shows that this system will not be a direct threat to the Alabama Gulf Coast; however, we can expect the surf to start increasing in size during the week, especially after Wednesday, and dangerous rip currents may become an issue.
We do have to remember that we are still very early as this is a newly formed tropical cyclone, and the forecast track may change drastically over the next several days.
Here are the key messages as of the first advisory from the National Hurricane Center:
1. Tropical Depression Nine is expected to produce heavy rainfall and instances of flash flooding and possible mudslides in areas of higher terrain in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Heavy rains are also likely to spread into Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in the coming days.
2. The depression is expected to approach Jamaica and the Cayman Islands as an intensifying tropical storm. Watches and warnings for these locations may be required in subsequent forecast cycles.
3. This system is forecast to approach western Cuba and enter the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by the end of the forecast period. Interests in Cuba and those along the Eastern Gulf Coast of the United States should closely monitor this system, though at this juncture, forecast uncertainty remains fairly high.