March 20, 2019

Tropical storm may brew next week as it spreads downpours from Caribbean to Bahamas, southeastern US

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By Alex Sosnowski, From AccuWeather

A broad area of showers and thunderstorms may lead to flash flooding over the part of the Caribbean this week and has the potential to culminate into a tropical depression or storm as it drifts northward toward Florida and the Bahamas next week.

AccuWeather meteorologists are monitoring an area of thunderstorms over the central and western at this time.

This area of disturbed weather is projected to continue to grow in size and may slowly organize over the next seven to 10 days.

“There is the likelihood for a swath of drenching showers and thunderstorms to target areas from the to the Greater Antilles and part of Central America,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller.

“Several days of downpours in this swath would raise the risk of flash flooding and mudslides beginning on Thursday and continuing into early next week,” Miller said.

It is impossible to say which specific locations would be hit the hardest on a given day due to the random nature of the thunderstorms. However, the storms are likely to pulse and cluster with the risk of several inches (couple hundred millimeters) in a few hours.

Flash floods and mudslides produced in this situation may be life-threatening.

Locally gusty thunderstorms can kick up seas and surf in the region with little notice. As a result, bathers and boaters should use caution.

Some outdoor activities, such as a day or a few days on the beach, could be rained out.

In terms of tropical storm formation in the Caribbean, this same broad swath of showers and thunderstorms is not likely to develop over the next few days but may do so as early as this weekend.

“We expect strong wind shear to continue over the Caribbean in the short term, but the wind shear may gradually weaken over time into this weekend,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Wind shear is the increase in wind speed at higher elevation or across horizontal distance in the atmosphere. Strong wind shear can prevent tropical storms from forming. A small amount of wind shear may help to vent a budding tropical system and allow it to strengthen.

“This large mass of showers and thunderstorms may gain more spin and may eventually develop while drifting slowly northward,” Kottlowski said.

Areas from near Jamaica to Cuba, Hispaniola, the Bahamas and the Florida Peninsula are in the swath where development into a tropical depression or storm could take place later this weekend into next week. Cruise and shipping interests in this area should keep an eye out for significant changes in the weather starting this weekend.

The next name on the list of tropical storms for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is Michael.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, there are a few tropical waves moving westward from with the one nearest being the largest. However, that feature is likely to encounter disruptive wind shear and is not likely to develop rapidly.

Farther north, Leslie is forecast to become the Atlantic’s next hurricane while making a loop over the middle of the basin and well away from any land areas at this time. Leslie may remain a traceable tropical system into the middle of October.

Download the free AccuWeather app to stay up to date on any tropical concerns and weather hazards for your area.

For more on this story go to: https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/flooding-mudslide-risk-to-eye-caribbean-ahead-of-potential-tropical-storm-development-near-bahamas-us/70006230

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