Tropics swirling with activity

Hurricane Isaac could impact Cayman by Sunday

The peak period of the Atlantic Basin hurricane season has arrived and almost on cue the tropics lit up with three areas of disturbed weather, one of which became Tropical Depression Nine early Tuesday morning. 

TD 9 was expected to become Tropical Storm Isaac sometime Tuesday night, but hadn’t done so before press time. 

As of 2pm EDT Tuesday, TD 9 was 550 miles east of Guadeloupe and moving west at 18 mph. It has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. 

Although the official track of the National Hurricane Center in Miami predicts TD 9 to develop into a Category 2 hurricane in the northwest Caribbean Sea, it forecasts that it will be pulled north of Jamaica and make landfall in southeastern Cuba. 

However, all three Cayman Islands are in the five-day track cone and as Meteorologist Jeff Masters stated on his Wunderground.com blog Tuesday, the average error in five-day forecasts is 260 miles. 

“Given the tendency of the models to predict a track too far to the north for this storm, and this season’s general steering pattern that has already taken two storms into Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, we should not be surprised if TD 9 takes a more southerly path than the official NHC forecast, and potentially become a threat to western Cuba or Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula,” he said. 

In addition to TD9, the National Hurricane Center was tracking Invest 95L in the western Gulf of Mexico and Invest 96L, the latter of which was 425 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands Tuesday morning. The National Hurricane Center stated Invest 96L had a high 60 per cent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone by Thursday morning, but the forecast models all showed it tracking north of the Caribbean Sea. 

TD 9

Tropical Depression 9 has formed in the Atlantic Basin and could eye the Caribbean. – Photo: NOAA