A low-pressure weather system continued to hang off the eastern coast of Nicaragua Wednesday, bringing downpours and thunderstorms to much of Central America. The system is expected to move slowly north and hit the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rains by Friday.
Cloudiness and showers moved over the Cayman Islands Wednesday, as a prefrontal trough and cold front lingered in the area. Isolated showers are expected to continue impacting Cayman as the system moves northeast.
The Cayman Islands National Weather Service forecast moderate sea wave heights, reaching up to five feet Wednesday night. Northerly winds will reach 5 to 11 miles per hour.
Seas are forecast to be slightly smoother Thursday at less than two feet, accompanied by northeastern winds less than 5 miles per hour. Locally, heavy showers may occur.
Coastal regions of Honduras and Nicaragua, recently hit by Tropical Storm Nate, went into alert, as flooding and mudslides from the low-pressure system threatened lives.
The system, located south of the Cayman Islands, became slightly more organized Wednesday and began a slight counterclockwise flow, AccuWeather reported. Cyclone formation was not certain, however.
While conditions may favor tropical depression or storm formation, an AccuWeather forecaster did not anticipate hurricane formation.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center forecast a 20 percent chance of formation over 48 hours and a 40 percent chance over five days.
Environmental conditions are expected to be more conducive to formation later in the week, once the system has moved away from the Central American coast and into warm Caribbean waters.
A cold front from the north could stall the system in the waters south of Cuba on Thursday.
A front moving south off the Yucatan Peninsula will likely bring strong, upper-level winds and prevent further development by Sunday. A stronger front off the United States may dip the jet stream further south by Friday or Saturday, pulling the storm north, AccuWeather reported.
Regardless of cyclone formation, heavy rains will likely affect Central America and Cuba this weekend.
Northern Honduras, southern Belize and northeastern Guatemala are expected to receive the heaviest rains in coming days, with 7 to 12 inches of rain forecast to fall by Friday.
Residents of the northwestern Caribbean, Central America, Cuba and Jamaica are advised to monitor storm development. The region will be at risk of flooding, downpours, strong winds, mudslides and dangerous surf this weekend.
The next named storm of the season will be Philippe.