AOL Mail (967)
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and part of Alabama were in the path of Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine Wednesday night as the system was expected to dump heavy rains and potentially life-threatening flash floods across the northern Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, northern Haiti, the Inagua Islands, southeastern Bahamas and the Dominican Republic before making its way toward the U.S. mainland sometime over the weekend.
“The details of the long-range track and intensity forecasts are more uncertain than usual since the system does not have a well-defined center and it is expected to move near or over portions of the Greater Antilles later this week and move near or over Florida this weekend,” the National Hurricane Center cautioned.
“While this system could bring some rainfall and wind impacts to portions of Cuba, the central and northwest Bahamas and Florida later this week and this weekend, it is too soon to determine the location or magnitude of those impacts,” weather officials said.
Florida state officials announced all state-supported drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing sites will shut down at 5 p.m. Thursday ahead of the possible storm.
“I do think it is possible that there are impacts to the state of Florida, and we see those impacts as anywhere from kind of severe storms, all the way up to a potential hurricane,” the governor said Wednesday. “People just need to have their hurricane plan. They need to secure seven days worth of supplies, food water and medicine, just like you are told to do at the beginning of hurricane season.”
Warning Coordination Meteorologist Robert Molleda with the National Weather Service in Miami said tropical storm force conditions could reach South Florida Friday night or early Saturday morning, but that may change.
“We think at some point today it will gain enough organization to become a tropical storm,” Molleda said Wednesday. “Even a very small change in the track can make a pretty big difference in potentially how strong the storm could get, or even how weak it would get, if it stays over land for a long period of time. Those things are still highly uncertain.”
Weather officials said the system was carrying maximum sustained winds near 45 mph and higher gusts as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“Environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for additional development, and a tropical storm is forecast to form tonight,” weather officials said.
Weather officials said the system was expected to bring 3 to 6 inches of rain across Puerto Rico with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches. It was expected to bring 3 to 6 inches of rain across the northern Leeward Islands, British and U.S. Virgin Islands as well as 3 to 6 inches in the Domincan Republic, northern Haiti and the Turks and Caicos with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches.
“These rainfall amounts may lead to life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides, as well as potential riverine flooding beginning today,” weather officials said. “Urban and small stream flooding is expected for the U.S. Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico.”
The system was located about 140 miles south of Ponce, Puerto Rico and about 280 miles southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as of 8 p.m. Wednesday. It was moving west, northwest at 18 mph.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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