Potential tropical storm forms off Florida coast, bringing rough surf and beach conditions

Hurricane Nigel still brings the strongest winds in the Atlantic Ocean, but two other systems have more potential for impacting life in the United States and Caribbean over the next week.

Here’s the latest updates on potential Tropical Cyclone 16, Hurricane Nigel and another disturbance from the National Hurricane Center.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 16

Details from the 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 National Hurricane Center advisory on a potential tropical storm.
Details from the 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 National Hurricane Center advisory on a potential tropical storm.

What the hurricane center described as “a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms” off Florida’s east coast earlier Thursday threatens to become something more serious as it approaches the Carolinas.

Whether or not “potential Tropical Cyclone 16” turns into a storm, it will affect weather on the east coast of the United States.

Movement: The system was about 340 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina and about 395 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in a 8 p.m. advisory.

A north-northwest to north movement is forecast by late Friday and into the weekend, the night advisory said. On the forecast track, the center of the cyclone is expected to approach the coast of North Carolina within the warning area Friday night and Saturday.

How strong is 16: Maximum sustained winds were 35 mph and the system was moving north at 7 mph.

Watches and warnings

A tropical storm warning has been issued from Cape Fear, North Carolina to Fenwick Island, Delaware; Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds; Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island; and Chesapeake Bay south of North Beach.

A storm surge warning has been issued from Duck, North Carolina to Chincoteague, Virginia; Chesapeake Bay south of Windmill Point; Neuse River, Pamlico River and portions of Pamlico Sound; and portions of the Albemarle Sound.

Strengthening is expected during the next day or two, and the system is forecast to become a tropical storm as it approaches the coast of North Carolina. Regardless of whether the system become a tropical storm, the system is expected to bring tropical-storm conditions to portions of the southeast and mid-Atlantic coast,” according to the hurricane center.

Swells and life-threatening surf and rip current conditions generated by this system will affect much of the east coast of the United States through the weekend, including South Florida.

It has a 60% chance of forming in the next two to seven days.

The next advisory will be at 11 p.m. Friday.

Hurricane Nigel is weaker but faster

Hurricane Nigel’s projected path as of 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21.
Hurricane Nigel’s projected path as of 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21.

As Hurricane Nigel makes a northeast swing away from North America, now about 640 miles east-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland, its maximum sustained winds are at 8 mph, according to the 5 p.m. advisory.

Nigel is making that northeast move at a swift 37 mph and expected to continue in that direction into the weekend.

Hurricane force winds can be felt 70 mph from Nigel’s and tropical storm force winds up to 205 miles from its center.

“Weakening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Nigel is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone tonight or early Friday,” the 5 p.m. Thursday hurricane center advisory said.

The storm isn’t close enough to land for any watches or warnings.

A wave in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean

Tropical wave a few hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands faces environmental conditions conducive for development, according to the hurricane center’s 8 p.m. report.

“A tropical depression is likely to form this weekend or early next week while the system moves generally westward at 10 to 15 mph across the eastern and central tropical Atlantic,” the hurricane center said in its afternoon advisory.

Formation chance through 48 hours: 50%.

Formation chance through seven days: 80%.