The Tropics: Eta, Theta, and the Thing Near Jamaica
Y'all remember when the hurricane season didn't last all season long? I do. It sure seemed like once upon a time that when the cold winds of November started to blow the warm winds of tropical storms seem to quell themselves in a distant sea. That certainly isn't the case with the Tropical Atlantic Basin this morning.
Currently, we have three tropical systems that are being monitored by the National Hurricane Center. They are Tropical Storm Eta in the Gulf of Mexico. There is Tropical Storm Theta in the far Atlantic. There is also a tropical wave moving into the Caribbean Sea and it should be near Jamaica in a few days with a 60% probability of developing into a tropical cyclone.
Theta, in the far Atlantic, should be an issue only to shipping interests. The tropical wave moving through the Caribbean appears to be on a track that would carry it into Nicaragua and Honduras. Just like Eta did last week. Not good news for folks in that part of the world but hopefully the system won't strengthen too much.
Tropical Storm Eta, however, continues to be the burr in the backside of forecasters. The storm, once forecast to loop back into western Florida near the Tampa Bay area now appears to be on a track that would carry it almost due north from its current location.
That track guidance from the National Hurricane Center now brings Eta onshore this weekend as a tropical depression near Pensacola. So, hopefully, that part of the world that has already had its share of tropical troubles this year won't experience any more issues. But remember, Sunday is a long way off so this forecast track will likely change.
Based on the tropical model guidance, I don't think any of us actually know where this storm will go. But what we do know is that there is a lot dry air over the Gulf of Mexico. That and wind shear should inhibit any rapid development of Eta. In fact, the environmental conditions should continue to worsen for the storm through time. That's why the intensity forecast brings Eta down to tropical depression status before landfall over the weekend.