Tropical depression forecast to form this week could head toward Caribbean; another wave forecast to emerge

Tribune Content Agency

With Tropical Storms Gert and Katia forecast to degenerate Monday, attention in the Atlantic turns to a tropical wave off Africa that is expected to develop into a tropical depression midweek and potentially head in the general direction of the Caribbean and Florida.

That tropical wave was “more organized” Sunday, producing showers and thunderstorms several hundred miles southwest of Africa’s Cabo Verde Islands. The disturbance is expected to become a tropical depression this week as it moves west-northwestward between 15 and 20 mph over the eastern and central Atlantic, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, it was given a 90% chance of developing in the next seven days and saw its 48-hour chances bump up to 50%, each a steady rise from Saturday.

Also on Sunday, forecasters began watching for another tropical wave to emerge off Africa this week. It is forecast to take a similar path, potentially developing slowly this week as it moves to the west-northwest over the far eastern Atlantic.

Well to the north in the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Katia was named early Saturday, joining re-emerged Tropical Storm Gert and what was Hurricane Idalia.

As of 11 a.m. Sunday, a “rapidly weakening” Katia was located in the far eastern Atlantic about 910 miles northwest of Africa’s Cabo Verde Islands, moving northwest at 7 mph with maximum winds of 40 mph, a significant deterioration from 60 mph on Saturday evening.

Katia is expected to degenerate to a remnant low by Monday, the National Hurricane Center said in its latest update.

Tropical Storm Gert, meanwhile, was gaining in intensity Sunday. It was located 760 miles east of Bermuda moving north-northeast at 15 mph with 60 mph sustained winds as of 11 a.m. Sunday. Gert is forecast to be “absorbed by” what once was Hurricane Idalia before generating into a trough of low pressure early Monday, forecasters said Sunday.

The NHC, which operates under the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, has forecast 14-21 named storms, including 6-11 hurricanes, and two to five major hurricanes.

As of Sept. 3, there have been three hurricanes — Don, Franklin and Idalia, the latter two of which were major hurricanes.

The next named storm to form would be Lee.

The National Hurricane Center has been predicting an “above-normal” 2023 hurricane season as a result of ongoing record-breaking sea surface temperatures that continue to fight off the tempering effects of El Niño.

While sea surface temperatures have remained hot for longer than anticipated, El Niño’s effects, which typically reduce hurricane chances, have emerged more slowly.

Reporter Shira Moolten contributed to this report.