Weather

Tropical wave forms near Caribbean separate from Matthew, Nicole

Location of Hurricane Matthew, Tropical Storm Nicole and a third area of tropical weather as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016.
Location of Hurricane Matthew, Tropical Storm Nicole and a third area of tropical weather as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. National Hurricane Center

A third area of tropical weather has formed in the Atlantic Ocean, separate from Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Nicole.

Both that area and Matthew now have possible paths into the Gulf of Mexico, several forecast models show.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts the large area of disorganized storms to head across the Caribbean Sea, close to the route Matthew took early on.

So far there is only a 10 percent chance of formation over the next two days, and a 20 percent chance over the next five days.

However, models are now starting to forecast Matthew shooting off the East Coast and circling back toward South Florida by early next week, with possible tracks across Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico.

Matthew’s path will affect where the third tropical wave goes, especially if it circles back.

The reason for the projected circular path is a strong high-pressure area north of Matthew in the Atlantic. Tropical weather follows the path of least resistance, which means toward areas of low pressure. And with Nicole hovering further east of Matthew, a low-pressure path could be created back toward the Caribbean.

As usual, the projected storm paths — or cones of uncertainty — are highly variable and subject to change.

If the tropical wave develops, it will be named Tropical Storm Otto.

Lauren Walck: 228-896-2393, @laurenwalck

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