A new tropical disturbance is developing in the Atlantic Ocean and could pose a threat to Puerto Rico and Florida, the National Hurricane Center said on Tuesday.
The hurricane center began issuing advisories for potential Tropical Cyclone 9, which was located about 585 miles east southeast of the Leeward Islands on Tuesday morning.
A potential tropical cyclone is a disturbance that is not yet a defined tropical cyclone, but is likely to form. It allows the hurricane center to issue warnings for areas that could be affected before a depression or storm develops, allowing a longer time frame for places that could be in danger.
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At 11:00 a.m., the disturbance had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and the system was moving westward at 23 mph. The disturbance is expected to turn into a tropical storm before reaching the Leeward Islands on Wednesday, which is why a tropical storm warning has been put in effect for Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Saint Kitts. and many other islands in the northeastern Caribbean.
If it becomes a tropical storm, the next name on the list is Isaias. This would be the first named “I” storm to form in the Atlantic on record, the previous record being Irene of August 7, 2005. The average date of the ninth named storm in the Atlantic is October 4.
This will come on the heels of five other tropical storms that set the same record this year for their corresponding letters: Cristobal, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo and Hanna.
With Isaias imminent, meteorologists are practicing how to pronounce it correctly. Pronounced “ees-ah-EE-ahs,” this four-syllable name emphasizes the third syllable. Isaias comes from the Spanish and Portuguese languages as a form of the biblical name Isaiah, which means “God is my salvation”.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the Leeward Islands Wednesday and Puerto Rico from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday. Three to six inches of rain with local amounts of up to 10 inches is expected in the northern Leeward Islands and two to four inches of rain is expected in the Windward Islands. This amount of rain could cause flash floods and life-threatening landslides.
The exact course and intensity of the storm remains uncertain, but it could track near Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas later this week and could potentially turn northwest and approach Florida this weekend.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Douglas continues to pull away from Hawaii after an extremely close call with the chain of islands. When it was a hurricane, the center of circulation missed its landing on Oahu by just 30 miles with tropical storm force winds roaring just 10 miles offshore.
The Hurricane Center noted that this was the closest a hurricane had arrived in Oahu before Hurricane Dot in 1959.