Hurricane center says Caribbean system may stay disorganized

The National Hurricane Center said a system moving through the Caribbean has reduced chances it will grow into a tropical depression or storm.

As of 4 p.m. EST, Potential Tropical Cyclone Twenty-Two was located about 20 miles northeast of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and 195 miles west-southwest of Guantanamo, Cuba, moving northeast at 17 mph with sustained winds of 35 mph.

“The chance for the system to become a tropical cyclone continues to decrease and in fact now appears unlikely due to a combination of the system’s broad structure, the terrain of the Greater Antilles, strong southwesterly shear and mid-level dry air,” forecasters said.

The threat of tropical-storm-force winds, though, remains, and the NHC has kept its forecast to allow for it to form into a short-lived tropical system over the weekend, potentially becoming Tropical Storm Vince, before becoming extratropical.

Without a well-defined center and organization, though, the NHC has dialed back to 30% its chances it will form.

“Advisories on this system could be discontinued at any time if there is no longer a risk of tropical-storm-force winds within the tropical storm watch areas,” forecasters said.

A tropical storm watch remains in effect for Haiti, parts of Cuba, the southeastern Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.

“Regardless of tropical cyclone formation, the most significant hazard from this system is expected to be heavy rainfall, especially in areas of higher terrain, across portions of Jamaica, southeastern Cuba, and Hispaniola,” forecasters said.

“On the forecast track, the system is expected to move across southeastern Cuba tonight and the southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands Saturday morning,” forecasters said.

The NHC said 4 to 8 inches of rain with some areas getting up to 16 inches could be felt in portions of Jamaica, southeast Cuba and southern Hispaniola through Sunday. Another 2 to 4 inches are expected in the southeastern Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.

“These rains are likely to produce flash flooding, along with mudslides in areas of higher terrain,” forecasters said.

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season has had 21 official storms, and if this were to organize it would become the 22nd.

The hurricane season runs from June 1-Nov. 30.