Atlantic tropical storm to aim for Central America and Mexico at midweek
A budding tropical system in the Caribbean Sea will impact parts of Central America and Mexico with tropical storm conditions at midweek.
A tropical system over the central Caribbean, located south of Jamaica, will continue to move westward this week.
“This system should become Tropical Storm Earl before moving inland late Wednesday or Wednesday night,” AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.
This loop is centered over the Caribbean Sea with Hispaniola located north of the tropical system. (NOAA/Satellite)
All interests in the western Caribbean should continue to monitor the track and strength of the system. Bathers and boaters can expect building seas and an increasing risk of rip currents into midweek.
This past weekend, heavy rain and gusty winds swept across the United States and British Virgin Islands.
Rain and winds from the system battered the Dominican Republic from Sunday to Monday. At least six people were killed after winds knocked down power lines onto a bus in Nagua, according to the Associated Press.
Significant gusty squalls and heavy rainfall will impact Jamaica on Tuesday and the Cayman Islands during Tuesday night. Flash flooding and mudslides can occur.
Depending on the track and speed of the system, similar conditions can reach parts of Honduras and Nicaragua early Wednesday.
“The center of the system will approach Belize and the southern part of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico with heavy rain and gusty winds later Wednesday or Wednesday night,” Kottlowski said.
The northern coast of Belize, as well as low-lying areas in the Mexico state of Quintana Roo could be subject to coastal flooding and beach erosion. In addition to the threat of flooding, trees can be knocked over and power outages are possible.
The very fast forward motion, 23 mph (37 km/h) will limit strengthening so that the system probably does not have enough time to become a hurricane.
The extent and severity of the rain and wind will depend on the strength of the system at landfall. Flooding and sporadic power outages can occur even if a minimal hurricane or tropical storm moves ashore.
Once over land, the system will weaken, but locally torrential rainfall and gusty winds will continue in the region during Thursday.
There is a chance the system will move back out over the waters of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico before the end of the week, where renewed strengthening could occur, Kottlowski stated.
“A second landfall could occur in northeastern Mexico during Friday or this weekend, depending on the system’s track,” he said.
While dry air surrounds the system, disruptive winds are decreasing and water temperatures are in the middle 80s F (29-30 C).
The warm water, diminishing disruptive winds and a decrease in forward speed should cause the system to strengthen to a tropical storm and perhaps a hurricane, prior to reaching Central America.