TROPICAL UPDATE: Invest 97-L not yet a Tropical Storm but Will be Soon

A United States Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft that investigated invest 97-L this afternoon was unable to find a closed circulation within 97-L, which means that it is not yet a tropical depression or tropical storm.

However, environmental conditions are favorable for development, and invest 97-L is still likely to develop into a tropical depression sometime within the next 2 days.

In their 8:00PM EDT tropical weather outlook the National Hurricane Center have invest 97-L a 90% chance of developing over the next 2 days and a 90% chance of developing over the next 5 days.

Position and intensity

As of 8:00PM EDT invest 97-L was located at 13.1 degrees north and 55.3 degrees west. Maximum sustained winds were 35 miles per-hour (tropical depression strength), the minimum central pressure was 1008 millibars, and movement was to the west-northwest.

Forecast for Invest 97-L over the next 5 Days

Invest 97-L will continue tracking west-northwest, moving into the East Caribbean tomorrow, likely developing into Tropical Storm Mathew sometime tonight, tomorrow, or Thursday. Then on Friday or Saturday, invest 97-L (likely TS Mathew) will move into the Central Caribbean, likely becoming a hurricane.

Beyond 5 Days

Although, beyond day 5 (Saturday) the global model guidance diverges; Therefore,  both details regarding both track and intensity beyond day 5 remain highly uncertain.

GFS and GEFS Solution

Both the GFS and GFS ensembles (GEFS) are forecasting invest 97-L (likely TS Mathew) to intensify into a major hurricane in the Central Caribbean on Friday or Saturday. In addition, both the GFS and  GEFS are forecasting the ridge of high pressure currently steering 97-L west-northwest to break down, causing it to move Northward out of the Caribbean, and essentially out to sea next week.

However, we will note that both the GFS and GEFS have shifted to the west some today.

ECMWF and EPS Solution

On the other hand, the ECMWF and ECMWF ensembles (EPS) forecast invest 97-L (likely TS Mathew) to intensify into a hurricane in the Central Caribbean on Saturday. And unlike the GFS and GEFS, the ECMWF and EPS forecast the ridge currently steering 97-L west-northwest to remain in place, allowing 97-L (likely Mathew) to track into the Northwest Caribbean next week.

Summary

Invest 97-L will likely become Mathew sometime within the next 2 days and will likely intensify into a hurricane late this week or this weekend in the Central Caribbean.

However, there is still a large amount of uncertainty regarding the evolution of invest 97-L beyond day 5 (Saturday).

The bottom line is that it is too early to know if 97-L will impact the United States or not; and it is important to note that invest 97-L is nothing for Gulf Coast residents to be concerned about at this time, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on.

We will have another update out on invest 97-L tomorrow night.