We’re just past the peak of hurricane season 2016, and as the end of September approaches, it’s time to take stock of where things are in the Atlantic Ocean and how they could impact Florida.
Right now, there is just one potential disturbance in the Atlantic – Invest 97L, which was about 1,000 miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands (off the coast of Africa). It was moving west at 20 miles per hour, and so far has sustained winds of less than 39 miles per hour.
A storm has to have wind speeds of at least 39 miles per hour to receive a name and be considered a named storm.
There’s roughly an 80 percent chance that Invest 97L turns into a tropical depression over the next five days. Meteorologists expect Invest97L to move into the eastern Caribbean toward the end of the week. At that point it could be a named storm.
Forecasters expect there to be good conditions for the storm to strengthen and organize into a tropical depression. Once it enters the Caribbean, the only path that would threaten us here in Southwest Florida would be if it turned north, moved over Cuba, and then passed into Florida. But going over Cuba could weaken the storm and even cause it to break up if it’s weak enough.
If it does turn into a storm, Invest 97L will be named Matthew.
We dodged a bullet earlier this year with Hermine that hit further up to the north. Right now, the chances aren’t great that Invest 97L will pose a threat, but it’s never too early to prepare for any eventuality.
There’s just a couple of months left in hurricane season 2016, but they could be the most active. Stay vigilant and pay attention to the weather.