The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season may be in the past, but the tropics remain extremely active. Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall in North Carolina Saturday morning, while another disturbance is on the cusp of becoming a tropical depression or a tropical storm as it swirls off the coast of Africa.
Tropical disturbance Invest 90L likely to become tropical depression Saturday
A budding tropical disturbance moving west off Africa, dubbed Invest 90L, is likely hours away from becoming a tropical depression, the NHC says.
Forecasters are awaiting satellite imagery later Saturday morning may confirm the storm has developed a more defined center and qualify as at least a tropical depression. If so, it would become Tropical Depression Seventeen, while if it develops into a tropical storm, it would become Tropical Storm Philippe.
The NHC says there's a 90% chance of becoming at least TD17 within a couple days and are certain (100%) that it will develop within a week.
The system will move generally westward at 10-15 mph across the eastern and central tropical Atlantic and forecasters will closely keep track.
"The system is forecast to track in the general direction of the Caribbean islands for the next few days," said FOX Weather hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross. "But the dip in the jet stream that will eventually move what’s left of Ophelia away from the U.S. is expected to also pull likely-Philippe to the north before it gets to the islands. We’ll want to watch to be sure it turns, but the long-range forecasts have come into good agreement.
Tropical Storm Ophelia heads into mid-Atlantic coast Saturday
But Ophelia's impacts stretched far beyond its storm center, with Tropical Storm Warnings covering 7 million along the eastern seaboard and Hurricane Watches were issued as the storm bore down on communities east of Interstate 95.
Heavy rainfall, gusty winds and coastal flooding are expected to impact communities from the Tar Heel State through the Delmarva Peninsula into Sunday.