Weather experts are keeping a close eye on a developing system in the Caribbean Sea that has been projected to affect Belize within the week. According to the National Hurricane Centre in Miami the system has been named Invest-99L and has a seventy percent chance of developing over the next two days. The system is moving 15 to 20 miles per hour and is currently south of Hispianola as explained by Deputy Chief Meterologist Ronald Gordon.
Ronald Gordon, Deputy Chief Meteorologist: “The system has not become any better organized since yesterday.The latest analysis shows that the system does not have closed circulation which is required for it to be defined as a Tropical Depression. In terms of the environment, the broad environment, if you look at moisture the system is within a relatively favorable environment in terms of moisture. Vertical wind shear which sometimes tears tropical systems apart is low so that’s also a favorable factor for development and sea surface temperatures which is the fuel for tropical systems is also warm which is again favorable. So overall the environmental conditions are favorable for the system to develop. What is impacting development I believe is the fast westward motion of the system which is 15-20 mph. Typically you’d need a system to slow down for it to develop that circulation so that’s one factor that is in favor which is good for us is that it’s moving fast and that is hindering development at the moment. Most of the models that we look at are not showing significant development, they’re not even showing the system becoming a tropical storm. I believe that the Hurricane Center is being cautious because these models over the past couple weeks with the past systems that we had did not perform too well in terms of “Genesis” that is the development of a system so they don’t pick up the development too well and that is one factor maybe why the Hurricane Center is giving this system a higher chance than you would expect based on the forecast models. One of the models that we look at here is called the Global Forecast System and that model is indicating that the system will pass us a tropical wave late Wednesday into Thursday bringing in some rainfall into the country. Again I must repeat the models are not always that accurate when it comes to development so we are monitoring it and see what happens.”
There are several countries on alert including Jamaica, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Yucatan. Gordon went on to speak on the forecast models, explaining that there is the need for people to understand what the projections are saying and how to differentiate.
Ronald Gordon, Deputy Chief Meteorologist: “We are not looking at projected cone right now the system has not become a tropical depression. For you to be able to track these systems you need for it to develop first. What you see on that map with those things that look like cones is basically an estimate of where a wave is moving and where it could potentially develop it is not telling you the projected path of a storm because we don’t have a storm at the moment. So we don’t have a projected cone for that system as yet. If it does become a Tropical Depression before it gets here then you will see the cone come out which is white and that cone will tell you the probability of that system moving in any part of that cone therefore anybody who is in the projected path within that cone should be on the alert- don’t draw an imaginary line in the center and say it’s gonna go through that center line that is not how it works.”
Reporter: What are we looking at in terms of our weather conditions locally throughout the course of this week ?
Ronald Gordon, Deputy Chief Meteorologist: “There is uncertainty I’ll tell you that upfront but first of all starting from Today and tomorrow we will continue warm and dry there’s not gonna be any change. The models are indicating to us that the system will start impacting Belize late Wednesday going into Thursday. How much the impact is going to be depends on how much the system develops and like I said the model that we look at, one our main model the Global Forecast System, is not showing a lot of development it’s giving us a wave crossing us with some rainfall beginning late Wednesday into Thursday. That is dependent on whether the system develops. If the system develops and becomes intense even a tropical storm then the rain fall tends to be more compact and additionally the rainfall would be more intense. So we have to wait and see in terms of what the exact forecast is gonna pan out, there’s some uncertainty but what I can say to you with some certainty is we are gonna get some rainfall starting Wednesday into Thursday- how much depends on how strong the system develops, who much intensification occurs and exactly where it goes from there.”