The storm is forecast to strengthen over the next few days into a tropical storm, at which point it would likely be named “Hermine”.
The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) projects that the storm will swing north over the weekend and hit Jamaica on Sunday, Cuba on Monday and Florida by Tuesday. By the time it reaches the US, it could be a Category 3 hurricane with wind speeds up to 109 miles per hour (175 kilometres per hour).
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged residents to “remain vigilant and ensure their households are prepared for a potential impact.”
The depression is forecast to become a tropical storm by later on Friday and reach hurricane status before running into western Cuba.
The NHC is warning that Jamaica and the Cayman Islands could see between four and eight inches (10 - 20 centimetres) of rain, with some locations in Jamaica getting up a foot (30 cm) of rain on the storm’s way north.
While the long-term forecast into next week is more uncertain, the agency says that people “in Cuba and those along the Eastern Gulf Coast of the United States should closely monitor this system.”
5am AST 23 September--Tropical Depression Nine (#TD9) has formed in the central Caribbean this morning.
The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters (@53rdWRS) will be investigating it later this morning to determine its latest structure & intensity.
Latest: https://t.co/sH2UrRpy71 pic.twitter.com/ErcYivwGMv
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 23, 2022
Meteorologists had begun warning about this storm earlier this week as it crossed into the Caribbean, where it’s likely to encounter a lot of very warm water – the kind of conditions that can quickly intensify a storm.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Fiona is on a direct route to Atlantic Canada, where forecasters say it could bring wide-scale power outages and flooding as intense rain and hurricane-force winds hit Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Two other storm systems are also brewing in the mid-Atlantic. One, right off the west coast of Africa, became Tropical Depression 10 and is likely to become a tropical storm in the next day or two, according to NHC. Another, closer to North America and moving westward, has a 30 per cent chance of forming in the next five days.
After “Hermine”, the next two names on the list are “Ian” and “Julia”.
Hurricanes are expected to grow stronger on average in the next few decades as the climate crisis accelerates and raises ocean and air temperatures.
In the past 40 years, a higher percentage of hurricanes have reached major status of Category 3 or higher, according to the United Nations leading climate science panel.
This article is being updated