Even though the tropics have been quiet for the last few weeks, that looks like it may be about to change. An area of low pressure (currently called Investigation 98) east of the Bahamas is looking as though it may develop into a named storm (90% chance in the next 5 days) as it moves west towards east-central Florida by mid-week. Because it has not developed a circulation yet, the model forecasts are necessarily vague and not too believable at this point, but most models generally agree that the storm will move west and then curve to the north. A few models think it could cross the peninsula and enter the eastern Gulf of Mexico, but most have it recurving over or just to the east of Florida before scooting up parallel to the East Coast towards the northeast. The models generally hold it at tropical storm force, although a couple push it into a category 1 hurricane.

The impacts any specific location feels depends critically on where the storm develops, what path it takes, and how strong it becomes. In general, rain is likely to be the biggest issue in Florida because the central peninsula is still flooded from Hurricane Ian due to very slow drainage of that flat land. Coastal flooding and erosion along a good part of the eastern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts is likely due to combination of sustained onshore wind flow with the high tides associated with being near a full moon. Farther inland and north, the winds are likely to be the main issue since any rain that falls is likely to be welcomed due to the drought. Winds could be stronger and cover more territory than usual for a tropical storm because of a strong high pressure area to the north, which could increase the pressure gradient that causes the wind. Producers of crops like cotton and pecans that can be affected by winds should be watching carefully.

If you are out of the area that will be affected by Investigation 98, then a change from our current warm conditions to something much colder could occur by the end of next weekend, with the possibility of frost around November 13-15 in many areas that got hit in October. Much colder than normal temperatures are expected for nearly the entire Lower 48 in week 2, including most of our region. Fall weather is on the way!

Please monitor the National Hurricane Center and your local NWS forecasts for information on how the storm is developing and what weather to expect at your location. Note that these forecasts will change over time, so keep watching it as it evolves and modify your actions accordingly. I will post updates in the blog as needed each evening as well.