(WAFB) - UPDATED THURSDAY, SEPT. 1 AT 2:00 p.m.: The National Weather Center reports that data from USAF hurricane hunter finds Hermine is now a hurricane. Max sustained winds to near 75 mph (120 km/h). Its location is 28.1°N 85.4°W and it is moving NNE at 14 mph.
Forecasters expect Hermine to make landfall in north Florida late Thursday or early Friday.
UPDATED THURSDAY, SEPT. 1 at 10:15 a.m.: A life-threatening storm surge and flooding due to heavy rains are expected for Florida as a stronger Tropical Storm Hermine heads to the state's north Gulf coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 10 a.m., Hermine was located at 27.4 north, 86.0 west, or about 170 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. Maximum sustained winds were 65 mph and it was moving north-northeast at 14 mph.
Forecasters said the combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will produce the danger of "life-threatening inundation" along the Gulf coast of Florida from Aripeka to Indian Pass.
They added Hermine is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 5" to 10" over parts of northwest Florida and southern Georgia through Friday.
UPDATED THURSDAY, SEPT. 1 at 4:15 a.m.: Tropical Storm Hermine has strengthened more as it heads toward the north Florida coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 4 a.m., Hermine was located at 26.4 north, 86.6 west, or about 250 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. Maximum sustained winds were 60 mph and it was moving north-northeast at 12 mph.
Forecasters said they anticipate Hermine will strengthen even more and expect it to be a hurricane by the time it makes landfall.
UPDATED WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31 at 1 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center reported NOAA hurricane hunters have found that Tropical Depression No. 9 has strengthened into Tropical Storm Hermine.
At 1 p.m., the NHC reported Hermine was located at 24.7 north, 88.0 west, or about 395 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. Maximum sustained winds were 40 mph and it was moving north at 2 mph.
Forecasters still expect it to move north-northeastward Wednesday evening before turning to the northeast and increasing its forward speed on Thursday.
UPDATED WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31 at 10:15 a.m.: Tropical Depression No. 9 is nearly stationary in the Gulf of Mexico, but is still expected to head toward the coast of Florida later in the day and strengthen, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 10 a.m., the NHC reported TD No. 9 was located at 24.6 north, 88.0 west, or about 395 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. Maximum sustained winds were still at 35 mph and it was not moving.
Meteorologist Steve Caparotta said though the storm is currently still a depression, it should become Tropical Storm Hermine soon.
UPDATED WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31 at 4:15 a.m.: Tropical Depression No. 9 was not upgraded overnight and is yet to make the expected turn to the northeast, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 4 a.m., the NHC reported TD No. 9 was located at 24.5 north, 88.1 west, or about 405 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. Maximum sustained winds were still at 35 mph and it was moving north at only 2 mph.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for part of the Florida Gulf Coast. The storm is expected to turn to the north-northeast Wednesday and then turn to the northeast Wednesday night.
Forecasters said TD No. 9 is expected to strengthen to a tropical storm and could be near hurricane strength by the time it makes landfall.
UPDATED TUESDAY, AUG. 30 at 10 a.m.: Tropical Depression No. 9 continues to dump torrential rains over western Cuba and a tropical storm watch is likely to be issued for part of the Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Meteorologist Steve Caparotta said there has been little change to the forecast track. At 10 a.m., the NHC reported TD No. 9 was located at 24.0 north, 87.2 west, or about 310 miles west of Havana, Cuba. Maximum sustained winds were still at 35 mph and it was moving west-northwest at 7 mph. It is still expected to reach tropical storm strength on Tuesday.
UPDATED TUESDAY, AUG. 30 at 5 a.m.: Tropical Depression No. 9 is expected to soon gain strength, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 4 a.m., it was located at 23.8 north, 86.6 west, or about 270 miles west of Havana, Cuba. Maximum sustained winds remained at 35 mph and it was moving west at 7 mph. It is expected to reach tropical storm strength on Tuesday.
The NHC said a slow west-northwestward motion is expected Tuesday. Forecasters added TD No. 9 is expected to turn to the north-northwest Tuesday night and then turn toward the north-northeast on Wednesday. It is expected to move into the eastern Gulf of Mexico by Thursday.
UPDATED MONDAY, AUG. 29 at 11:15 a.m.: "Never say never."
But in the case of Tropical Depression No. 9, the WAFB First Alert Storm Team is feeling VERY GOOD about the likelihood that LOUISIANA WILL NOT BE IMPACTED by this tropical system.
As of Monday morning, the team put chances at well under 20 percent that TD No. 9 - and whichever name it earns in the next day or so - will NOT get close enough to Louisiana to have any significant impact on the Bayou State.
Virtually all of the reliable computer models take this system off to the east and into Florida. While the landfall zone is still open to question, AT THIS TIME it seems unlikely that this system will make landfall anywhere west of Tallahassee.
That DOES NOT mean that people across Louisiana won't be a bit nervous for the next couple of days.
TD No. 9/Hermine/Ian will likely become a tropical storm by sometime Tuesday and it will be slowly tracking to the WNW-to-West-to-North across the southern Gulf into Wednesday. Slow-movers are often the least likely to forecast well. That's likely to keep many in the area on pins-and-needles until they see the anticipated turn to the northeast (Wednesday into Thursday) as it heads towards the Sunshine State.
So be patient as the storm team watches TD No. 9 become Hermine or Ian … and of course keep a close eye on the weather updates. But for the time being, Chief Meteorologist Jay Grymes is rather confident that south Louisiana will go unscathed this week. In fact, while there may be a slight rise in daytime temperatures this week with highs in the mid 90°s, there might be a slight drop in local humidity … and also watch rain chances slip to something below-normal for this time of year, running 10 percent to 30 percent each day during the work week.
UPDATED MONDAY, AUG. 29 at 10:15 a.m.: There was no real change in the forecast track for Tropical Depression No. 9 on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters said it was still forecast to become a tropical storm and stay east of Louisiana. Monday morning the storm was dumping torrential rains over western Cuba.
At 10 a.m., the NHC reported it was located at 23.6 north, 84.3 west or about 125 miles west-northwest of Havana, Cuba. Maximum sustained winds were 35 mph and it was moving west at 7 mph.
Forecasters said the storm is expected to turn toward the west-northwest Monday, followed by a slow northwestward motion on Tuesday. They added it will likely become a tropical storm by Monday night.
UPDATED SUNDAY, AUG. 28 at 5 p.m.: Around 4 p.m. on August 28, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Invest 99-L to Tropical Depression No. 9. Here is an analysis from Forecaster Jeff Morrow and Chief Meteorologist Jay Grymes.
It seems like we have been tracking the progress of Invest 99-L for close to a month now. The tropical wave made the trek all the way from the coast of Africa to its present position between Cuba and Florida. We've watched 99-L for days struggle against shear, 'dry' air, and the potential interaction with the mountainous islands of the Greater Antilles. Some tropical "experts" had written off 99-L more than once. Yet the ragged tropical wave that was deemed by some to be "simply too disorganized to survive" has managed to remain intact and split the gap between Florida and Cuba. The National Hurricane Center sent a hurricane hunter aircraft into the weather system early Sunday afternoon and they found a closed center of circulation. That means we now have the 9th tropical cyclone of the 2016 hurricane season.
Tropical Depression No. 9 (T.D. No. 9) is still battling a large amount of wind shear. Therefore immediate development is not expected. T.D. No. 9 is expected to move into the SE Gulf of Mexico on Monday. Hello warm waters of the Gulf. Hello less hostile atmosphere. Now what?
Given our tough time over the past week-plus trying to second-guess 99-L (right up through this afternoon), we can't help but be a little nervous about our forecast skill over the next 3 - 4 days with newly-dubbed T.D. No. 9. Here is what we do know, or better said, what we think we know: the National Hurricane Center's (NHC) 4 p.m. forecast has TD #9 becoming a tropical storm named either Hermine or Ian. (Seems as if we have a race between the East Coast's T.D. No. 8 and the Gulf's T.D. No. 9 as to which one gets the "H"-name first.)
Most weather models continue to indicate a slow strengthening of T.D. No. 9. The official National Hurricane Center forecast also reflects a slow strengthening trend, but it does forecast T.D. No. 9 to reach tropical storm status Monday afternoon.
Reliable weather model guidance continues to indicate T.D. No. 9 will move west northwest into the South Central Gulf of Mexico. The storm motion is expected to be fairly slow. Slow is seldom good, and slower is even more unsettling. The NHC has a nearly stalled tropical storm in the south-central Gulf on Tuesday into Wednesday, making a large somewhat lumbering turn to the north, then NNE, then NE between Tuesday and Thursday. It should pick-up forward speed as it does so. The more-reliable models are "tentatively" in agreement with this turn, but we want to wait until the next series of model runs for confirmation now that the models have a confirmed low-center to work with. We don't expect any significant changes in the forecast models between today's earlier runs and the runs when they factor in this afternoon's TD-upgrade, but let's be sure.
Keeping in mind that confidence in the models with this system has been a little shaky ("shaky" may be putting it kindly at times) and given the slowness of its forecasted movement over the next 48 - 72 hours, this system needs our close attention. Slow-movers make for tougher-than-normal forecasts.
Although a Louisiana threat seems low at this time, we'd estimate the threat potential at less than 1-in-3 for now, maybe even less than 1-in-4. That is NOT zero. And with two days of slow movement, there is a lot that can change between now and mid-week.