Atlantic hurricane season isn’t over yet as trouble looms in the Caribbean

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season technically comes to a close in two weeks, but parts of the Atlantic Ocean are still churning. A potential tropical cyclone spun to life on Thursday afternoon and is expected to become a tropical storm on Friday in the Caribbean Sea – the area forecasters marked as the zone to watch in November.

This new potential tropical cyclone – a system that has yet to meet the criteria for a tropical depression or storm, but still poses danger to land – was just east of Honduras and Nicaragua on Thursday. It’s forecast to become a tropical depression by Thursday night and a tropical storm by Friday afternoon.

Once this system strengthens into a tropical storm, it will be given the penultimate name of the 2023 hurricane season’s list: Vince.

Tropical storm watches were issued Thursday afternoon for Jamaica, Haiti, portions of Cuba, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Regardless of how strong the system becomes, its heavy rainfall will drench Jamaica and portions of Cuba and Haiti Thursday night through Saturday, and dangerous flash flooding and mudslides are possible in the most torrential rain.

Portions of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos are also in for a soaking on Saturday as tropical moisture fuels storminess across the area.

The potential storm was thwarted earlier this week by a few environmental factors. In order to develop and strengthen, a tropical system needs warm water, low wind shear and plenty of moisture. However, not all of these were in place across the Caribbean Sea this week.

Sea surface temperatures remain plenty warm to support tropical development, but wind shear emerged as a limiting factor. Wind shear can tear a storm’s circulation apart or prevent one from forming altogether.

But once wind shear backs off, it leaves the door wide open for tropical development, and wind shear over the Caribbean eased slightly late Wednesday into Thursday and will remain generally low into the weekend.

Farther north, tropical development is possible but unlikely from an area of thunderstorms off the Southeast coast. This area of stormy weather unloaded torrential rainfall over South Florida on Wednesday.

The more likely scenario is that a non-tropical storm develops and moves up the East Coast over the weekend. In this scenario, rough seas and breezy conditions are possible along the Southeast coast this weekend.

Notable November storms over the years

Despite being late in the season, tropical storms and even hurricanes do form in November.

  • Hurricane Nicole strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane before slamming into Florida on November 10, 2022.

  • Iota and Eta both strengthened into powerful Category 4 hurricanes in November of 2020.

  • With sustained winds of 155 mph, Iota was the strongest November storm in the Atlantic since 1999’s Hurricane Lenny, which reached the same intensity.

CNN’s Abigail Holmes contributed to this story.

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