Forecasters are watching closely a tropical weather system in the southwestern Caribbean Sea that will very likely bring heavy rains to the Yucatan Peninsula by this weekend and could develop into a low-level hurricane next week.

The disturbance, called Invest 90L by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, is currently located in the southwestern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Nicaragua and is expected to slingshot northward through this week and into the upcoming weekend, reports.

The U.S. Air Force Reserve will fly a reconnaissance mission into Invest 90L Wednesday afternoon Oct. 4 to gather more information about the disturbance’s structure and intensity. If a closed circulation of low pressure is found with sufficiently persistent thunderstorms, the system could be classified as a tropical depression at that time.

Nate will be the name given to the next Atlantic tropical storm.

Potential Development Area and Satellite Imagery

Potential Development Area and Satellite Imagery

The area in the hatched polygon indicates the general area of potential tropical development, according to the National Hurricane Center. The “I” represents the location of the system right now.

Environmental conditions over the western Caribbean Sea and southern Gulf of Mexico are already favorable for development.

The tropical system is expected to be pulled north into the Gulf of Mexico, steered by the combination of upper-level high pressure centered near or east of the Bahamas and what is known as a Central American gyre.

Upper-Level Steering Winds For the Weekend Tropical System

Upper-Level Steering Winds For the Weekend Tropical System

It is now likely the system will landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast, somewhere between Louisiana and Florida, but it remains too soon to tell where exactly this landfall will occur.

Most guidance also suggests this landfall will most likely be as a tropical storm or low-end hurricane, however, intensity forecasts are notoriously tricky this far out in time.


Model Forecast Tracks

Model Forecast Tracks

The lines on this graphic represent several of the many track forecasts from various computer models. This is not an official forecast, but the models are often used as guidance for creating the projected path for a storm.

Caribbean, Mexico, Central America Impact

The tropical system will likely track close to, if not over parts of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula – including Cancún and Cozumel – Friday, perhaps lingering into early Saturday.

The main impacts, there, will include bands of locally heavy rain, elevated surf, and some stronger wind gusts.

These Central American gyres are notorious for flooding rainfall over Central America and Mexico, and this one will be no exception.

Areas of locally heavy rain are likely to persist at least into part of the weekend from eastern Mexico into Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and, perhaps parts of Panama.

This heavy rain may trigger dangerous flash flooding and mudslides, particularly over the mountainous terrain of Central America.

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