Twins, Basil. Twins.
In the course of just a few hours, we’ve seen the development of Tropical Depression 13 (unlucky for some) and Tropical Depression 14. Both may have their eyes (pun seriously not intended) set on the mainland US coastline, but the forecast models are having a hard time agreeing on just what is going to happen. At present, TD 14 looks to be more of a threat for the Louisiana/Texas coast than to Florida, so we’re mainly focusing on TD 13 in this analysis.
Depression 13 would become “Laura” if it reaches tropical storm status first, or “Marco” if TD 14 beats it to formation. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center right now has the storm becoming a category 1 hurricane as it approaches south Florida. The various forecast models that the NHC uses to help inform its forecast, on the other hand, run the gamut from “falls apart in the Caribbean” to “major hurricane skirting up the east coast of Florida.” The NHC’s current forecast discussion reflects this:
The details of the long-range track and intensity forecasts are more uncertain than usual since the system could move over portions of the Greater Antilles this weekend. However, this system could bring some storm surge, rainfall and wind impacts to portions of Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Florida this weekend and early next week. Interests there should monitor this system's progress and updates to the forecast over the next few days.
The main takeaway is that it is far too early to be certain of the exact intensity and track of the storm. So, as we often advise, keep track of the weather over the next few days. It is too early to be sure that central Florida, which is within the cone of uncertainty, will avoid the brunt of the storm; and conversely, it is too early to panic that we’ll be directly in the path of the storm. The track, and its intensity, will likely change as more data comes in. Keep calm and carry on!