By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency
CLANTON – As of 10 am CDT Wednesday morning, October 4th, a tropical depression has formed in the southwestern Caribbean Sea, and is expected to become a tropical storm later today. The graphic below shows the forecast cone.
The forecast cone is where the expected center of the storm will be, NOT where the actual weather impacts will occur. Actual impacts (wind, heavy rain and potential tornadoes) occur well outside the forecast cone.
This is a quick moving system, with quick impacts as well. Weather impacts could begin as early as Saturday along the coast, with landfall expected on Sunday. Any weather impacts will likely be over by Monday morning.
At this point, the current forecast is for this system to become a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 80 mph and gusts near 100 mph. However, the intensification process near landfall continues to be the greatest challenge of the National Hurricane Center, and may change with subsequent forecasts.
The worst part of a tropical storm/hurricane is on the eastern side of the storm. If Alabama ends up on the eastern side, weather impacts will be much greater. If the state ends up on the western side of the storm, then weather impacts will be much less.
Continue to monitor this developing situation, and be aware that very quick preparation may be necessary as it becomes clearer of the exact track of this storm.