Hurricane Center: Tropical system’s track and intensity forecast are big question marks

Potential Tropical Cyclone No. 9 isn’t yet a tropical storm as of Tuesday night night, and the forecast track has the system possibly curving into the Atlantic Ocean, making landfall in Florida or bending into the Gulf of Mexico by Sunday.

The still-poorly organized system, located a couple of hundred miles southeast of the Leeward Islands, is racing to the west-northwest at 25 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its Sunday night update.

PTC No. 9 is expected to become Tropical Storm Isaias on Wednesday. From there, its motion will slow down later the week, and Isaias could approach Category 1 hurricane-strength before a possible landfall Sunday.

Despite the system’s poor structure, the NHC said computer models agree the system will slow down in a few days and start to bend more toward the north “into a break in the subtropical ridge that is expected to develop across Florida and the Bahamas.”

Forecasters are less confident in projecting how strong the system might become because of two factors:

— Its poor organization so far

— Its likely interaction with land soon, particularly with Puerto Rico and Hispanola

As of Tuesday night the forecast has the storm maxing out with winds of 65 mph before possible landfall in Florida.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for areas such as Puerto Rico, the US and British Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic.


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