The National Hurricane Center has forecast an increased likelihood that a tropical depression or storm could form in the Atlantic Ocean and could threaten Florida this week.
According to the NHC’s 8 a.m. tropical outlook, forecasters said a large system developing in northern Puerto Rico has a good chance of becoming a subtropical or tropical depression while it turns west-southwest in the middle of the week or in the southwest Atlantic.
The chance of forming on Sunday increases to 70% to form within the next 48 hours and to 90% within the next five days.
Florida’s east coast and the Bahamas should monitor the storm’s progress, the NHC said. Regardless of development, there is an increased risk of coastal flooding, strong winds, heavy rainfall, rough surf and beach erosion.
“The system was initially expected to be very extensive and disorganized,” the forecaster said. “However, it may begin to gain subtropical or tropical features early next week, and a subtropical or tropical depression may form early to mid-next week, while the system moves west-west-west-southwest in the Atlantic Ocean.”
Forecasters said there is an “increasing risk” of coastal flooding, strong winds and heavy rainfall along Florida’s east coast.
The system is expected to bring heavy rain to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands this weekend.
If its intensity increases, it could become Tropical Storm Nicole.
The NHC is also monitoring an area of weak non-tropical low pressure hundreds of miles east of Bermuda, with a 70 percent chance of a naming system forming in the Atlantic in the next few days.
The system is expected to turn to the northeast and merge with a strong cold front by the middle of the week.
The sixth and seventh hurricanes of the season have already formed this week, with Hurricane Lisa hitting Belize on Thursday morning and Hurricane Martin becoming extratropical in the North Atlantic on Thursday afternoon.
Atlantic hurricane season runs through November. 30. The 14 systems named through Martin this season have now met NOAA’s projections for 2022.
NOAA is forecasting an above-average season with 14 to 21 named tropical storms. This follows a record 30 naming systems in 2020 and 21 naming storms in 2021.