Hurricane Gaston is centered about 600 miles east of Bermuda in the middle of the Atlantic and is forecast to turn to the north and gradually weaken this week. But today, conditions favored an impressive intensification, and maximum winds are up to 105 mph. Gaston is the season's third hurricane, and the first to reach Category 2 status.
|Tropical Depression 8|
Last but not least, Invest 99L.
You've been hearing and reading about 99L for a long time now... in fact, it came off the African coast 12 days ago. The cryptic name is nothing more than a temporary identifier given to disturbances of interest. Once it becomes a tropical cyclone, it is given a unique number (08L for example, for the 8th TC of the season). If it reaches tropical storm intensity, it is also given a unique name (Hermine, for example). The "invests" are numbered and reused cyclically from 90-99, and the L denotes the Atlantic. So there will be another 99L this season, but not at the same time as the current 99L.
99L has been a troublesome system to predict. Model guidance has often forecasted intensification, but has been consistently wrong so far. It has at times looked quite healthy on satellite images, only to get shredded apart hours later. It's now just a disorganized mess between Florida and Cuba producing some gusty winds and areas of thunderstorms.
99L is also forecast to organize once it enters the Gulf on Monday. So here comes the race for the name Hermine. Either TD8 or 99L could be the next named storm... which is Hermine. The name after Hermine is Ian, so both could get used in the coming days! Hermine and Ian are the 8th and 9th names on the list this season... though the average is only 5 named storms by September 1st.
There is pretty good agreement among global and regional models that this system could intensify significantly in the Gulf this week. Anywhere from LA over to Tampa Bay should be watching this very closely for possible impacts from Wednesday through Friday, particularly the Big Bend area of Florida which is extremely vulnerable to storm surge.
|Five-day forecast tracks from several select models (global and regional).|
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