What we are watching:An area of clouds and rain a few hundred miles East of the Windward Islands. It has not gained any more organization or t-storm activity over the last 24 hours. It is still aiming for the Lesser Antilles at a steady rate between 15 and 20 mph.
Some gusty winds and scattered rain pockets are already moving across the islands. The dry air that was ahead of it is falling apart and this should give it an opportunity to gain some strength.
The chances for development over 5 days remain at 70%.
Once it crosses into the Caribbean Sea, the warmer waters there could also provide it with much needed tropical fuel.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the low this afternoon, if necessary.
The islands will welcome the rain since they are still dealing with a deficit . For example since January, Puerto Rico is almost 5 inches below their typical rainfall budget for the year. The rest of the islands are pretty much in the same predicament. They would like the rain just not in the form of a hurricane.
What are the models suggesting:Most models need a good starting point so they can provide a more accurate path. Since this feature is more of an elongated area of low pressure, that starting fix is a bit more elusive. Here is a look at the latest model runs.
Most of them are in agreement that whatever develops will aim for the Leeward Islands, then Puerto Rico and possibly Hispaniola.
After that, some strong upper level winds should keep the system away from the Eastern Seaboard.
But, there is a fly in the ointment and that goes by the name of "El Pico Duarte", the highest peak in all of the Caribbean. A mountain top over 10,000 feet high in the middle of Dominican Republic.
This is important because it could act as a wall blocking the system, or even as a knife shredding it to pieces.
If whatever develops gets hung up here, it will mean extensive tropical downpours for Dominican Republic with deadly flooding, land and mudslides. It could also alter the future path of the storm.
If the system survives its run-in with "El Pico Duarte", conditions will be more favorable for strengthening once it emerges over the Bahamas.
What next:This is directly from NHC:
Regardless of tropical cyclone formation, gusty winds and heavy
rainfall are possible across portions of the Lesser Antilles, Puerto
Rico, and the Virgin Islands tonight and Friday, and over Hispaniola
late Friday and Saturday. Interests in those islands should closely
monitor the progress of this disturbance.
The Weather Office out of Puerto Rico has made the following statement:
FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING.THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN JUAN HAS ISSUED A FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR ALL OF PUERTO RICO INCLUDING VIEQUES AND CULEBRA AND FOR THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS. FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING. RAINFALL TOTALS BETWEEN 4 TO 6 INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS ARE POSSIBLE.
For the Bahamas:
Depending on how strong/weak the system is once it leaves the Caribbean, you will be dealing with the possibility of heavy rain maybe by late Sunday night or early Monday morning.
Most models show whatever develops staying away from Florida, but the impact with Dominican Republic could alter its course. We need to monitor the progress of this feature over the next few days to make sure it will not be a threat.