Hurricane center eyes 2 systems in Atlantic, 1 headed for Caribbean

The National Hurricane Center began tracking a second system headed for the Caribbean along with an Atlantic tropical wave already with high chances to become the season’s next tropical depression or storm.

As of 8 pm the closer of the two, a tropical wave now located several hundred miles east of the Windward Islands has shown signs of organization with its shower and thunderstorm activity.

“Further development of the wave is possible, and a tropical depression could form during the next few days while it moves generally westward at 15 to 20 mph, reaching the Windward Islands and the eastern Caribbean Sea by midweek,,” the NHC said.

The NHC gives it a 30% chance of forming in the next two days and 40% chance in the next five.

Farther east is another tropical wave with disorganized showers and thunderstorms that moved off the coast of Africa over the weekend, and is now located several hundred miles south of the Cabo Verde Islands.

“Environmental conditions are forecast to be favorable for some gradual development, and a tropical depression is likely to form around the middle part of this week. The system is forecast to move westward, then turn northwestward or northward by the end of the week over the eastern tropical Atlantic,” forecasters said.

The NHC gives the system has a 30% chance to form in the next two days, but a 70% chance in the next five.

The hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, has picked up pace since Sept. 1 with the arrival of four hurricanes including Fiona and Ian in the last two weeks. The season has produced nine named storms and one more tropical depression that spun up and fell apart while Ian was striking Florida.

The NHC also tracked one other potential cyclone that never grew into a depression, so the next tropical depression would be TD 12. If it grows into a tropical storm, it would be named Tropical Storm Julia.

Ian, which left Florida devastated after hitting with near Category 5 winds on the Gulf Coast and then dumping a torrent of rain across the state moved out into the Atlantic and made another landfall in South Carolina on Friday.

It soon after transformed into a post-tropical cyclone but brought high winds and dumped more rain over North Carolina and Virginia on Saturday.

South Carolina’s Pawleys Island, a beach community roughly 75 miles up the coast from Charleston, was hit hard. Power remained knocked out to at least half the island Saturday.

Eddie Wilder, who has been coming to Pawleys Island for more than six decades, said it was “insane” to see waves as high as 25 feet (7.6 meters) wash away a landmark pier near his home.

“We watched it hit the pier and saw the pier disappear,” he said. “We watched it crumble and and watched it float by with an American flag.”

Wilder’s house, located 30 feet above the shoreline, stayed dry inside.

Ian’s has been blamed for at least 54 deaths including 47 confirmed in Florida as of Saturday, with another four in North Carolina and three in Cuba.

In Washington, the White House announced that President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden would travel to Florida on Wednesday. But a brief statement did not release any details of the planned visit to the state.

The hurricane is already one of the most devastating to ever hit the US as it flooded homes across the state, knocked out power to more than 2.6 million customers.

More than 860,000 customers in the state remain without power as of 8 am Sunday, according to poweroutage.us.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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