The National Hurricane Center says a tropical cyclone is expected to form near the northwestern Bahamas, which will likely strengthen into Tropical Storm Humberto by Saturday morning as it moves toward the east coast of Florida.
Only a portion of Pinellas County was in the “cone of uncertainty” for potential tropical cyclone nine as of the 5 p.m. advisory from NHC. The potential cyclone was 235 miles southeast of Great Abaco Island and 310 miles southeast of Freeport on the Grand Bahama Island. The system was moving northwest at 8 mph.
Maximum sustained winds were 30 mph. To become a named storm, winds need to increase to at least 39 mph.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island. NHC says people along the east coast of Florida should monitor this storm.
On the current track, the system is expected to move across northwestern Bahamas on Friday and along or over the east coast of central Florida on Saturday.
NHC gives odds of 70% that the system will become a tropical depression within 48 hours. In the 5 p.m. discussion, NHC meteorologists said an Air Force plane was approaching the disturbance and would be able to provide more details on its structure.
National Weather Service’s forecast for Pinellas County is calling for a 70% chance of rain on Saturday and a 60% on Sunday, dropping to 50% by Monday. Breezy conditions are expected on Friday night with a northeast wind of 14-16 mph with gusts as high as 24 mph. A northeast wind around 15 mph is expected on Saturday with gusts as high as 25 mph.
NHC says the system could bring tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rainfall to portions of the Bahamas, which are already trying to recover from Hurricane Dorian, on Friday and Saturday. Significant storm surge is not expected.
Residents along the east coast of Florida could experience tropical-storm-force winds and rain over the weekend. The chance of tropical-storm-force winds in Tampa Bay and Pinellas is 20%.
NHC is also monitoring a tropical wave several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Island. Odds are 40% it will develop into a tropical cyclone within five days as it moves westward over the tropical Atlantic.
Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corrected odds of Pinellas receiving tropical-storm-force winds.