Tropical storm warnings have been issued to several Caribbean island territories as a poorly defined disturbance is projected to become the first hurricane of 2022 by the end of the week.
The National Hurricane Center’s 8 pm advisory Tuesday said heavy rains and tropical-storm-force winds are likely to begin late tonight for islands in the Southern Caribbean for what meteorologists are calling Potential Tropical Cyclone Two. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Hurricane Hunter aircraft confirmed the system has not yet gained the organization to be classified a tropical storm and does not have a center of circulation.
However, hurricane specialists suspect the system could intensify into the first hurricane of the season as it moves into the southwestern Caribbean Sea later this week and toward Central America.
The system is located about 10 miles east of Trinidad, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph moving west at 25 mph, as of the 8 pm update.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in place for Trinidad and Tobago; Grenada and its dependencies; Venezuelan Islands Islands of Margarita, Coche and Cubagua; and the islands of Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba. There was also a Tropical Storm Watch issued for parts of the coasts of Venezuela and Colombia.
The system has tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 60 miles from the system’s center. If it becomes named, it would be Tropical Storm Bonnie. The NHC gives it a 90% chance for formation in the next five days.
“On the forecast track, the system will pass near or over portions 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,” according to the NHC. “Conditions appear conducive to development if the disturbance remains over water, and it will likely become a tropical storm near the southern Windward Islands or while moving westward across the southern Caribbean Sea.”
Meteorologists are also keeping their eyes on two other disturbances with odds of becoming a tropical system.
An area of disturbance has increased its showers and thunderstorms overnight and over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. More development is possible but the system currently remains disorganized. The NHC gives it a 40% chance of forming into a tropical system in 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 it moves inland,” the NHC said. “Regardless of development, heavy rain will be possible along the portions of the Texas coast later this week.”
Also, a tropical wave over the central tropical Atlantic is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms. The wave is expected to come into 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 any of the systems develop, they would be the season’s second system 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 named a tropical depression without growing to tropical-storm status. It does not become named until the system has sustained winds of 39 mph and isn’t named a hurricane until it has sustained winds of 74 mph.
The 2022 season runs from June 1-Nov. 30 is predicted to be another above-normal year for storms following the 30 named storms of 2020 and 21 of 2021.