Caribbean disturbance on the cusp of becoming Tropical Storm Lisa
Coastal areas in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Belize, and Honduras should be ready to prepare for hurricane-force winds in case the storm can consolidate in a slightly hostile environment.
Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET
The broad disturbance we’ve been following in the Caribbean is now officially designated Potential Tropical Cyclone FIFTEEN. The name change only means that watches or warnings have been issued for land areas. It doesn’t indicate anything in particular about the system. Since it doesn’t yet have an organized circulation, it’s still technically a tropical disturbance.
Hurricane Hunters have measured winds slightly over 40 mph in the system, however. That means the system will jump right to Tropical Storm Lisa when it pulls itself together and organizes around a well-defined center.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that process to happen Monday as the system moves west toward Central America.
Because the strongest winds with the system are on the north side, alerts have been issued in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Though the center of circulation is forecast to pass the islands to the south.
Predicting the intensity of soon-to-be Tropical Storm Lisa in the western Caribbean is tricky. On the one hand, the upper-level winds are forecast to be conducive for strengthening. But on the other hand, the system will be plowing into considerable dry air, at least for the next day and a half.
The National Hurricane Center is thinking that the system will fight off enough of the dry air to reach hurricane strength before it gets to Central America Wednesday or Thursday, but it’s a close call. Coastal areas in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Belize, and Honduras should be ready to prepare for hurricane-force winds in case the storm can consolidate in a slightly hostile environment.
Since the National Hurricane Center is forecasting a Category 1 hurricane, preliminary preparations should be made for a Category 2 at least.
It’s important to remember that forecasts for the disorganized and just-developing system are prone to higher errors and are more likely to change. Everybody in or near the affected zone in Central America and the Caribbean should stay aware of the latest forecasts.
Lisa won’t be a threat to the U.S. High pressure across the Gulf of Mexico and Florida will confine the system to the Caribbean.
Otherwise, nothing appears threatening across the Atlantic.