Invest 94L has a high chance of developing over the next week, the National Hurricane Center says. (Credit: NHC)
Let the forecast model-watching begin!
The models started weighing in late Sunday after the National Hurricane Center designated a low pressure system deep in the eastern Atlantic Invest 94L.
The system is likely to become Tropical Storm Don — or Hurricane Don — the first Atlantic hurricane since Otto of last November. The majority of Monday’s forecast models were suggesting a Florida miss. But it’s early, and the storm is going nowhere fast from its location at 9.9N 32.8W — 3,289 miles east-southeast of Miami.
Most models, including members of the GFS Ensemble, showed 94L missing the Leeward Islands to the northeast, and turning north well east of the Bahamas, perhaps posing a threat to Bermuda.
New models come out every six to 12 hours, so there will be plenty of shifting and reassessing over the next week to 10 days. Also, there’s a big question on intensity of the system. Intensity forecast models are notoriously unreliable, but about half of the early ones suggest hurricane strength for 94L.
In any case, NHC forecasters were giving the low a 70 percent chance of becoming at least a tropical depression over the next five days.
Last year, the “D” storm, Tropical Storm Danielle, formed on June 19. But the Atlantic shut down in July, and didn’t produce Hurricane Earl until August 2.
The fourth named storm of the season is well ahead of climatology. On average, based on statistics from 1966-2009, the fourth named storm doesn’t form until August 23. The first hurricane forms on average August 10.
Model forecast tracks for Invest 94L. (Credit: SFWMD)
RECORD WATCH: Miami’s low of 81 on Sunday tied a record set in 1995. The apparent low at Palm Beach International Airport on Monday, 81, should be good enough to tie a 108-year-old record warm low set in 1909.
The South Florida forecast is for typical summer heat and humidity this week, with afternoon showers focused on the interior. Highs are expected to be in the upper 80s on the East Coast to low 90s in the interior and West Coast.
Heat index values have been in the upper 90s from West Palm Beach north to the Treasure Coast, and at or slightly above 100 in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Naples.