A tropical disturbance known as Invest 99 is moving through the Lesser Antilles and it may be strengthening into a tropical depression that could become Tropical Storm Hermine and even Hurricane Hermine by Labor Day weekend.
According to the National Hurricane Center, there’s a 60 percent chance the disturbance could develop into a cyclone over the next 48 hours and an 80 percent chance it could develop over the next five days. A U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunters aircraft was expected to fly over the disturbance sometime Wednesday morning. The disturbance could bring heavy rain, gusty winds and mudslides to the area of the Leeward Islands.
Should the tropical wave become a tropical depression, meteorologists cannot accurately predict the path a storm will take.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” said meteorologist Gavin Phillips of the National Weather Service in New Orleans. “The Euro-model of the storm is the most regressive but no model has it really developing until the weekend — another model has it developing over the coast of Florida and moving to the northwest and another model has it moving toward Texas.”
But Phillips said there’s no time like the present to prepare for a storm.
“People should probably keep an eye on things and make sure they have a solid evacuation plan and a preparedness kit,” he said. “But this is stuff you should already be doing because this is the time of year when we see the most disturbances develop in the Gulf.
MetLoop chief meteorologist Rocco Calaci predicted in his daily newsletter that Invest L-99 will be come a Category 2 hurricane once it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
Calaci said the storm could bring 10 to 14 inches of rain to the already flooded areas of Louisiana by next week.
He said his predictions are based on the Euro-model, which he believes to be the more accurate model in this instance.