Tropical system to become depression or named storm today

Tropical Storm Watch issued for portions of Central Florida's East Coast

By Rebecca Barry - Meteorologist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The system that nervous Floridians will be watching closely this weekend will likely grow into a hurricane but may never reach the Sunshine State.

The National Hurricane Center on Friday shifted the cone of Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 a bit to the east, taking it further offshore of Florida's East Coast.

"This will keep 90% of the bad weather offshore," News4Jax chief meteorologist John Gaughan said. "Only a few downpours along the beach are to be expected. Total rain amounts up to an inch or two."

The 2 p.m. NHC advisory said the tropical low-pressure system was stationary about 190 miles east-southeast of Great Abaco Island, which was devastated just over two weeks ago by Hurricane Dorian. It had maximum sustained winds of 30 mph,

On the current NHC track, what is likely to become Tropical Storm Humberto would be well offshore of the Jacksonville area Sunday morning. It is forecast to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday morning after turns northeast and heads out to sea.

With the current forecast track for Potential Tropical Cyclone 9, our local forecast actually improves for the weekend. Due to the distance between our coastline and the system, we would not feel any tropical storm-force winds, even along the coastline. Our forecast would also dry out, with only a few rounds of showers, especially along the coastline Saturday night into Sunday.

The Hurricane Center has been monitoring the area of disturbed weather moving toward the southern Bahamas for days. But as a hurricane hunter aircraft flew through the system Thursday afternoon, the NHC issued the first advisory on the tropical cyclone.

A Tropical Storm Warning remained in effect for the Northwestern Bahamas, excluding Andros Island. A Tropical Storm Watch was issued Friday for part of Florida's East Coast, from Jupiter Inlet to the Flagler-Volusia County line.

The system is expected to move slowly to the northwest and north-northwest on Friday. On the forecast track, the system is anticipated to move across the central and northwestern Bahamas on Friday, and along or over the East Coast of Florida on Saturday.

Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area on the Florida peninsula by Saturday.

This graphic shows what the Global Forecast System model predicts for this system over the weekend. The GFS model forecasts the system moving up the East Coast of Florida, which would mean it would not intensify into a strong storm.

This track would be much wetter and much windier for us than the NHC's official track and what the other forecast model the Euro shows. This model, the GFS has shifted its forecast further to the east with each run, which suggests it will continue to do so until it is much closer to what the Euro model predicts, keeping the storm offshore. 

And then there is the Euro model, pictured right. This forecast model develops the system into a hurricane and keeps it well off of the Florida coast as it curves off to the north and then northeast.

The current model run keeps the system even farther to east and away from our coastline than what we saw with Dorian. If this were to occur, we would see a drier weekend with a few showers in our coastal counties and less than tropical storm-force winds at the beach, with calmer winds over inland areas. Rip currents could still be an issue at the beach.

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