Invest 99L appeared to be bearing down on the Bahamas Saturday, but forecasters were predicting a sharp-right turn into the open Atlantic. (Credit: NOAA)
Disturbance 99L looked to be finally getting its act together after a leisurely 10-day cruise across the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a good chance it will become the season’s seventh named storm, Gert, forecasters said Saturday.
But if it does in fact spin up — the National Hurricane Center is giving it a 60-70 percent chance over the next two to five days — it is likely to be merely a season statistic rather than a storm that makes Big News. Forecast models are fairly unanimous in taking the system northwest, north and then northeast out to sea, splitting the uprights between Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast.
After that, models show another long-tracking system popping up in the eastern Atlantic toward the end of next week, and perhaps getting some traction as it nears the Lesser Antilles the week of August 21.
The GFS predicts — for now, at least — that this system will follow the path of 99L and curve out to sea well east of the U.S. coast. We’ll keep fingers crossed, since by that time we’ll be nearing Labor Day weekend, when historically some of the most infamous hurricanes have occurred.
The next name on the Atlantic list after Gert is Harvey.
How does this season compare so far? Last year around this time we were about to deal with Major Hurricane Gaston (August 22) , which did not affect land; and Hurricane Hermine, which made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on September 2 as a Category 1.
The only other storms to impact Florida last year were Tropical Storm Julia, which in mid-September achieved the rare distinction of spinning up over land near Jacksonville after running up Florida’s East Coast as a depression; and early October’s way-too-close-for-comfort Hurricane Matthew.
This year the NHC is using the same name list as 2005, the busiest season on record. That year, Franklin formed July 21; Gert formed July 23 and Harvey formed on August 2.
RECORD WATCH: Daytona Beach and Orlando tied record warm lows Friday with 78 and 77, respectively.
SUNSCREEN REQUIRED: After a wet week, better beach weather arrives for the weekend, but forecasters say a few storms are still possible. (Credit: NWS-Miami)