PANAMA CITY, Fla. WEATHER (WMBB)- Very early Friday morning the National Hurricane Center issued a new label for Invest 98L.
Now that the center of the tropical wave has closed, the storm has been labeled Tropical Depression Nine.
Over the course of the next 12-24 hours, the depression is expected to quickly organize into a tropical storm. Hermine is the next name on the list of names for the Atlantic tropical season.
Weather models are in fair agreement that the storm will continue to traverse WNW, and then NW into the western Caribbean Sea through Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday night and early Monday morning are critical times for additional intensification of the storm. The low will move into a highly favorable environment under the western curve of Cuba.
Monday, the suspected storm Hermine, is expected to reach Category 1 hurricane strength, with sustained wind speeds around 85 mph.
Monday through Wednesday is when the storm will quickly take advantage of warm water and low wind shear. Intensifying to a Category 2 and potentially Category 3 hurricane.
Also starting Monday the storm will begin to be steered to the north and east by a trough, which brings its general forecast track over western Cuba, through the Florida Straits, and arriving somewhere on the western side or southern edges of the Florida Peninsula.
At this time impacts on the landfalling region are still unknown, due to the low confidence of days 4 and 5 of the forecast track (Tuesday & Wednesday).
A better and more accurate picture of the storm will be built upon over the weekend, as the depression continues to organize and intensify.