Hurricane season isn't over: Forecasters warn Central America to watch new tropical system

Hurricane season isn't over yet.

Forecasters are keeping an eye on a developing tropical system spinning in the Caribbean that could become a tropical storm or hurricane as it moves toward Central America and Mexico over the next few days.

People in Central America should closely monitor the storm, AccuWeather forecasters warned, as there is the potential for a direct impact by a strengthening tropical storm or hurricane this weekend and into early next week.

This latest disturbance, known to meteorologists as "Invest 91L," was moving through the Windward Islands just north of the coast of South America on Wednesday, said.

A​n "Invest" is an area the National Hurricane Center is watching closely for development using advanced computer models and other resources, including the Hurricane Hunters.

A developing tropical system in the eastern Caribbean Sea (red x) could impact Central America as a tropical storm or hurricane over the next few days, forecasters warned.
A developing tropical system in the eastern Caribbean Sea (red x) could impact Central America as a tropical storm or hurricane over the next few days, forecasters warned.

What's the forecast for Invest 91L?

The hurricane center said Wednesday that the system is forecast to move generally westward near the northern coast of South America, and interaction with land is likely to hinder significant development during the next day or so.

Environmental conditions are expected to become more conducive for development "after that time," the NHC said, and a tropical depression is likely to form within the next two to three days when the system is over the south-central Caribbean Sea."

WHAT'S NEXT? Ian, Fiona shattered hopes for a quiet hurricane season

What are its potential impacts?

A strengthening tropical storm or hurricane would carry the risk of flooding rainfall, mudslides in hilly terrain and damaging winds and dangerous storm surge along the coast near and well north of the center in Central America, AccuWeather said.

"All interests in Central America from the southern Yucatan Peninsula to Costa Rica, including Honduras, Nicaragua and Belize, should monitor this forecast closely for updates in the coming days," said.


Will it get a name?

If this system gets a name, it would likely be Tropical Storm Julia, or possibly Karl –depending on the actions of another system in the far eastern Atlantic that could briefly develop into a named storm.

The other system, Tropical Depression 12, located west of the Cabo Verde Islands, is expected to remain over open waters until it dissipates by the end of the week.

WHAT IS THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SPEED SCALE? Breaking down the hurricane category scale

How many storms have formed this season?

Nine tropical storms and five hurricanes have formed this season. Of these, Hurricanes Fiona and Ian reached major intensity and peaked at Category 4 strength (130-156 mph), according to AccuWeather.

Based on data from 1991-2020, the average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, with three being major hurricanes (Categories 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale), according to the National Hurricane Center.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

Contributing: Cheryl McCloud, The Palm Beach Post

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane season could next threaten Central America, forecasters say