Tropical Storm Franklin is getting stronger and is forecast by the National Hurricane Center to become a hurricane this weekend. While Franklin is being monitored, the National Hurricane Center is also tracking a new system that appears to be forming in the northwestern Caribbean Sea. As these systems take shape, grow, and strengthen, they and the atmospheric pattern they’re within will all evolve and react to the other, potentially steering systems into or away from parts of the U.S. East Coast.
As of the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Franklin is now moving east-northeast and is forecast to become a hurricane over the weekend. The storm is located about 155 miles east-northeast of Grand Turk Island and about 730 miles south-southwest of Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 60 mph while its presentation on satellite has improved, indicative of a strong that continues to gain strength. The minimum central pressure is down to 998 mb or 29.47″.
Franklin is moving toward the east-northeast near 8 mph and the NHC says this motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours, followed by a slowdown and sharp turn to the north or north-northwest by the weekend. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph with higher gusts and gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Franklin is expected to become a hurricane on Saturday.
While that system heads north, meteorologists will continue to keep an eye on the northwestern Caribbean Sea and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. A broad area of low pressure has developed over the northwestern Caribbean Sea just off the northeastern coast of Honduras, producing disorganized shower and thunderstorm activity. The National Hurricane Center says that environmental conditions appear conducive for gradual development of this system during the next several days, and a tropical depression is likely to form late this weekend or early next week while moving generally northward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and eastern Gulf of Mexico. They believe there is a 70% chance of tropical cyclone formation at some point over the next 7 days.
Computer forecast guidance is suggesting many different scenarios for how these systems will evolve in the coming days, lowering the confidence of their overall forecast beyond the next 3 days. As such, people throughout the eastern U.S. should keep an eye on evolving forecasts should a tropical cyclone threat become apparent.