Two systems in the Tropical Atlantic have a 50 percent chance each of development by Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The disturbance off the coast of Africa has a 40 percent chance. (Credit: NHC)
There’s a meteorological traffic jam going on in the Tropical Atlantic, with three strong waves rolling toward the Lesser Antilles all with a chance to become the next named storm.
And that’s in addition to Hurricane Gert, spinning well off the Mid-Atlantic Coast. The storm was still strengthening Wednesday and forecasters predicted it would become the season’s first Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph. UPDATE: Gert became the first Category 2 with winds of 100 mph at 5 p.m., but NHC forecasters said: “The window of opportunity for additional strengthening appears to be closing.”
The three systems are led by Invest 91L, which is apparently bound for the Caribbean; 92L, which could skirt the northeastern Lesser Antilles and move in the general direction of the Bahamas; and the potential 93L, which just emerged from the coast of Africa.
All three were given a 40 percent chance of becoming tropical depressions or storms over the next five days by the National Hurricane Center. If they all developed, we’d have Harvey, Irma and Jose.
It’s too early to say where these systems will end up, but 91L looks like it could continue to sweep west and impact Central America. The next one, 92L, has some trouble-making potential for the U.S. Coast, based on mid-week forecast models. And 93L is a wild card.
This is the most dangerous time of the year for tropical weather, and the disturbances will be getting very close scrutiny from the NHC.
South Florida’s view of the eclipse. (Credit: NWS-Miami)
AND SPEAKING OF TRAFFIC JAMS: It’s the Super Bowl of astronomical events, so expect this weekend’s coverage of the “Great American Eclipse” to at least equal, or even surpass, the breathlessly hyped NFL football extravaganza.
But Monday’s solar eclipse viewing will be generally poor throughout the Florida peninsula due to cloud cover, forecasters at AccuWeather predict.
The closest place to the peninsula where the total eclipse can be viewed is Charleston, SC where there’s a 40 percent chance of rain, according to Weather Underground — and a 100 percent chance of traffic gridlock as people jam into the eclipse path.
Charleston is 522 miles from West Palm Beach, which would ordinarily be a seven-hour drive. But if you plan on getting up early Monday morning and driving up to see the Big Event, good luck.
There are 200 million Americans living within 500 miles of the eclipse, Forbes reports, about two-thirds of the U.S. population. “Previous eclipses have seen two-hour commutes turn into twelve-hour slogs, and this eclipse is poised to outdo them all,” the magazine said in June, predicting “the worst traffic jam in American history.”
Absent cloud cover, people in the Jacksonville area would see 85-95 percent of the sun obscured around 2:45 p.m.
West Palm Beach would get an 82 percent view, 78 percent in Miami and 75 percent in Flamingo.
RECORD WATCH: The low in Naples Tuesday was 80, which tied a record warm low for the date set in 2010.