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Tropical Depression 13 forms in central Atlantic, expected to become TS Laura soon

As of 11 pm on August 19, Tropical Depression 13 has formed in the central Atlantic Ocean and is headed WNW towards the US. As a newly developed depression without a strong central circulation yet, there is a lot of uncertainty about where it will go. However, the current predictions are for it to strengthen to tropical storm status and become TS Laura and to pass just north of the islands of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba and come near to the Florida peninsula by Monday. How strong it will get depends critically on whether it stays over water or plows right over the islands, which would reduce the strength of the storm. The current forecast is keeping it at tropical storm strength, but there is a lot of warm water out there so in the right conditions it could develop rapidly. We will be watching to see how the path and intensity prediction change over the next few days. On its current projected path, the Southeast could be in for some rough weather early next week, although which part is not certain. I will be posting updates on this blog as well as Twitter at @SEAgClimate and on Facebook at SEAgClimate. And don’t forget, there are two other areas that the National Hurricane Center is watching for development, although both of them are less likely to affect the Southeast.