Tropical storm warnings have been issued to several Caribbean island areas as an ill-defined disturbance is set to become the first hurricane of 2022 by the end of the week.
The National Hurricane Center advisory, released Tuesday at 5:00 p.m., said heavy rains and tropical storm-force winds are likely to kick in late at night for islands in the southern Caribbean in what forecasters are calling a potential Tropical Cyclone Two. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Hurricane Hunter aircraft confirmed that the system has not yet received the organization to be classified as a tropical storm and has no traffic center.
However, hurricane specialists suspect the system could intensify into the first hurricane of the season as it makes its way to the southwestern Caribbean and Central America later this week.
The system is located about 125 miles east of Trinidad, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph moving west at 24 mph, as of the 5 p.m. update.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Trinidad and Tobago; Grenada and its dependencies; Venezuelan islands Islas de Margarita, Coche and Cubagua; and the islands of Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba. A tropical storm watch has also been issued for parts of the coasts of Venezuela and Colombia.
The system has tropical gale force winds that extend up to 60 miles outward from the center of the system. If named, it would be Tropical Storm Bonnie. The NHC gives it a 90% chance to form over the next five days.
“On the projected route, the system will pass near or over parts of the southern Windward Islands tonight and move over the southern Caribbean Sea or near the northern coast of Venezuela and the northeast coast of Colombia on Wednesday and Thursday,” the NHC said . “Conditions appear conducive to development if the disturbance remains afloat, and it is likely to become a tropical storm near the southern Windward Islands or as it moves west across the southern Caribbean Sea.”
Meteorologists are also keeping an eye on two other disturbances that are likely to become a tropical system.
A fault area has increased its showers and thunderstorms overnight and over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Further development is possible, but the system remains unorganized at this time. The NHC gives it a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical system over the next two to five days as it slowly drifts west across the northern Gulf of Mexico and toward Texas.
“It could become a short-lived tropical depression near the coast before moving inland,” the NHC said. “Regardless of development, there will be heavy rain later this week along parts of the Texas coast.”
A tropical wave over the central tropical Atlantic also produces disorderly showers and thunderstorms. The wave is expected to make contact with another tropical wave later this week and could develop. The NHC gave the wave a 20% chance of becoming a depression in the next five days.
If either system develops, it would be the second system of the season after Tropical Storm Alex, which dumped nearly a foot of rain over parts of Florida earlier this month.
After Bonnie, the next two names would be Colin and Danielle.
A tropical system could be called a tropical depression without attaining tropical storm status. It will not be named until the system has sustained winds of 39 miles per hour, and will not be designated a hurricane until it has sustained winds of 74 miles per hour.
The 2022 season runs from June 1st to November 11th. The 30th after the 30 named storms of 2020 and the 21st of 2021 are predicted to be another above-average year for storms.