PHILIPSBURG – According to Weather.com: “A tropical disturbance, Invest 97L, between Africa and the Windward Islands, could develop into the next Atlantic named storm (Matthew) later in the week, and may pose a threat into next week in the Caribbean basin and possibly beyond.
For now, this tropical wave is located roughly halfway between the Lesser Antilles and Africa. It’s a tropical “wave” because winds at the surface do not exhibit a closed low-pressure circulation, but rather shift from northeasterly ahead of the wave to southeasterly behind the wave.
The National Hurricane Center has tentatively scheduled the first Hurricane Hunter mission into Invest 97L for Tuesday afternoon.
First Stop: Windward Islands
Steered by the subtropical ridge of high pressure known as the Bermuda-Azores high, Invest 97L will arrive in the Windward Islands, bringing showers, some locally heavy rain, and gusty winds by Wednesday, according to our latest forecast.
The National Hurricane Center has given this system a high chance for formation into a tropical depression over the next 2 to 5 day period as it nears the Lesser Antilles into the Caribbean. The next named storm in the Atlantic would be Matthew.
It should be noted this disturbance is starting out at a fairly low latitude, south of 10 degrees. Therefore, showers and gusty winds are expected in such locations as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, perhaps even coastal Venezuela later this week.
By Thursday, the system, either still a tropical wave, depression, or Tropical Storm Matthew, will move into the eastern Caribbean Sea.
Again, given the potential far southern track, there could be rain and gusty winds in the typically drier “ABC Islands” – Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao – Thursday.
Beyond that, uncertainty is high on this system’s future.
There are currently west to northwest winds aloft over the Caribbean Sea, providing some wind shear which is typically hostile to the development and intensification of tropical cyclones”.