Overview: All indications are showing that Invest 99L could become the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in more than 10 years. Also, there is the possibility of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since 2012.
Invest 99L has a high chance of development at 80% through the next five days. Overnight, the system became better organized and is in the process of developing a more defined low level center. There is a Hurricane Hunter mission scheduled to investigate this afternoon and there is a chance they may find a tropical depression or Tropical Storm Hermaine. If the system does not form today, environmental conditions do become more favorable in the Bahamas later this week.
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Short Term: 99L will continue to bring squally weather, including occasional gusts to tropical storm force across portions of the northern Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico and the Dominican republic later today. Not a named system, but it may feel like one.
Track: Confidence in the track of the system over the next five days is increasing. It appears this storm will track west-northwest through the Bahamas and later this week, make a westerly turn towards southern Florida. Once the system crosses southern Florida on Sunday, it will likely emerge in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and then track west-northwest from there. At this time, we cannot say with any certainty where the system would make a second landfall along the Gulf coast. All options are on the table from south Texas through the Florida Panhandle. The main thing to note with this track is there is no pathway for this system to turn out into the open Atlantic. A building ridge of high-pressure over the southeast United States and it's a clockwise flow, will in all likelihood, turn this system west across South Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Intensity: We think there is a medium-high chance that it could intensify into a hurricane before reaching Florida and maintaining hurricane status in the Gulf of Mexico. At this time, environmental conditions across the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico appear favorable to allow the system to strengthen, especially considering water temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s. With that said, tropical cyclone intensity is one of the hardest things to forecast and at this time we cannot forecast or predict maximum intensity.
5 Day Alert Levels: All interests across the Bahamas and the southern half of the Florida Peninsula should be watching this system very closely and check back for updates. "Elevated" alert levels mean that you should develop a plan and know how to execute it if watches or warnings are issued for your area by the National Hurricane Center.
Long Range Impact Chances: Please review our Long Range Impact Chance Map to give you some idea of what the chance is of 99L/Hermine impacting your area. Note: Decent chances have been posted along the Gulf coast. South FL has a 60% (as of now) of being impacted by this system.
We will have a another detailed post as conditions warrant. Please check the audio and video updates of the app for more in-depth information. Also, follow us on our Twitter account (https://twitter.com/hurrtrackerapp) for real-time updates as new data comes in. If you would like to receive these updates the moment they are published, please click here to sign up for email updates.