Invest 93L in the Caribbean looked robust Sunday afternoon. (Credit: NOAA)
Convection with Invest 93L, the low pressure area that was struggling all weekend off the coast of Central America in the Caribbean, appeared to crank into high gear Sunday morning and the National Hurricane Center upped its chances of development to 90 percent.
New forecast models showed more of a northern movement with a few of them aiming for the Florida panhandle.
Intensity forecast models keep the system relatively weak, with borderline tropical storm strength at best.
Still, the storm could be a big rainmaker for the northern Gulf Coast, with more than 4 inches forecast next week for southern Louisiana and 3.4 inches for Florida’s Big Bend area. The rest of Florida’s West Coast would receive a little over an inch in the south to more than 2 inches north of Tampa — but these numbers from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center will be undoubtedly refined as the system moves into the Gulf of Mexico.
The NHC may send a Hurricane Hunter aircraft into the system later on Sunday to see if a closed low has already formed. If it has, it could be the season’s second tropical depression or Tropical Storm Bret.
To the east of the southern Windward Islands, Invest 92L continued to chug west at 20 mph, a bit fast for tropical development. Forecasters said the chances of development were 50-50, and had a Hurricane Hunter standing by for Monday to check it out if necessary.
Forecast models are very consistent in bringing 92L into the western Caribbean by the end of the week, although its biggest challenge will be to survive the eastern Caribbean, which often has hostile conditions.
Rain chances are high in South Florida for the beginning of the week — up to 70 percent — before tapering off to 20 percent by Friday.
“The forecast for South Florida could be adjusted to reflect even higher POPS for the first half of the week if this feature moves closer to the state,” National Weather Service forecasters in Miami said in their Sunday analysis.
National Weather Service forecast offices in Florida are still talking about an influx of drier air to end the week.