Tropical Depression Nine formed in the Caribbean on Friday with a path that could bring it to Florida next week as Hurricane Hermine.
In its 5 a.m. update, the National Hurricane Center said the storm is moving west-northwest at 13 mph. Experts expect it will move more westward over the next day or so before turning back west-northwest and then northwest over the weekend.
“The system already possessed a well-defined circulation for the last 12 to 18 hours, but it was only overnight that the ongoing convective activity was able to persist long enough near the center to be considered a tropical cyclone,” said NHC hurricane specialist Phillipe Papin.
Maximum sustained wind speeds are close to 35 mph with a higher gusts. There will be a slow intensification over the weekend projected to become Tropical Storm Hermine later today and grow into hurricane strength by Monday morning with its center south of Cuba near the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.
The five-day path has it hooking north by Tuesday over Cuba and then parked off Florida’s southwest coast as a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds and gusts of 130 mph by Wednesday morning.
“There is still a healthy amount of uncertainty in the track forecast at the day 4-5 timeframe,” Papin said.
There are no coastal watches or warnings at this time.
Tropical Depression Nine will likely drop heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and possible mudslides in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, with heavy rains in Jamaican and the Cayman Islands coming in the next few days.
An Air Force Reserve Reconnaissance flight will investigate the system later this morning.