A tropical depression churning in the Atlantic strengthened into the fourth tropical storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season on Saturday.
Forecasters are closely watching the newly named Dorian, which could threaten the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico by midweek. The storm is forecast to strengthen and could be near hurricane strength as it approaches the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. update.
A separate disturbance in the Atlantic, which has been bringing rain and storms to parts of South Florida since Friday, is likely to strengthen into a tropical or subtropical depression by early next week as the system moves northeast off the coast of Florida.
Tropical Storm Dorian strengthened quickly over the weekend, going from a disturbance to a tropical depression Saturday morning before becoming a named storm.
At 11 p.m. update, Dorian was about 635 miles east-southeast of Barbados. It is now a growing concern for people in the central and northern Lesser Antilles islands, the National Hurricane Center said Saturday.. The center urged residents to monitor the depression’s progress, as tropical storm conditions could begin as soon as Monday evening in those areas.
Saturday evening, winds in Dorian were at 40 mph and the system was moving west at 14 mph.
The track shows it approaching the Lesser Antilles islands as a hurricane by Tuesday afternoon and then Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republican on Wednesday and Thursday.
Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore had urged residents in the Bahamas to keep an eye on this disturbance before its upgrade.
Disturbance 1 will keep bringing wet weather to South Florida Saturday and possibly parts of Sunday. The broad area of low pressure inland over South Florida was producing plenty of “disorganized” showers and thunderstorms, extending eastward over the northwestern Bahamas and adjacent Atlantic waters.
While this means more rain in the Florida Keys, South Florida and Orlando, according to the National Weather Service in Miami, “significant development” of the wave was unlikely until it left the Florida peninsula, the hurricane center said.
Though Orlando is in the forecast area for Saturday’s thunderstorms, gusty winds and lightning strikes from this low pressure system, Saturday night’s Miami Hurricanes-University of Florida football season opener at Camping World Stadium should be OK weather-wise by game time.
The National Weather Service has rain chances at 20% Saturday evening in Orlando, while The Weather Channel forecasts partly cloudy skies and a 15% chance of rain. And AccuWeather has a 24% chance of thunderstorms and 77 degrees at kickoff.
Once the system moves off the east-central coast of Florida, however, environmental conditions work in its favor.
There is now a new “Disturbance 2” that formed Saturday morning just off the upper Texas and southwestern Louisiana coasts that is given a 10% chance of developing this weekend and over the next five days.