MIAMI, Aug. 26 (UPI) — The tropical wave identified as ‘Invest 99L’ struggled to develop into an organized storm Friday as forecasters predict it could avoid a direct hit of Florida.
U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunters found tropical-storm force winds on Thursday but as circulation has not fully closed, it has not been classified as a tropical depression or tropical storm. The speed of the winds dropped down below tropical storm force later in the day.
The storm has not formed a well-defined circulation center, which makes forecasting the intensity and direction system difficult, forecasters reported.
The National Hurricane Center on Thursday decreased the odds that Invest 99L will develop into a tropical depression. The system now has a 40 percent to turn into a tropical depression by Saturday, and a 70 percent chance by Tuesday.
Regardless of Invest 99L’s development, the NHC warns of heavy rains and potential flash floods and mudslides over the island of Hispaniola and in central Cuba.
“A broad area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave is located between the southeastern Bahamas and the northeastern coast of Cuba,” the NHC said in a statement. “The low is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms mainly to its south and east, and upper-level winds are not expected to be particularly conducive for development during the next day or so while this system moves more slowly toward the west-northwest at about 10 mph. However, environmental conditions could become a little more conducive for development over the weekend or early next week while the system moves through the straits of Florida and into the eastern Gulf of Mexico.”
The National Hurricane Center said South Florida and the Florida Keys will likely see heavy rains and gusty winds over the weekend and into early next week.