Tropical Depression 16 Organizes Near Nicaragua

Tropical Depression Sixteen organized near Nicaragua on Wednesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Sixteen was located at latitude 12.8°N and longitude 82.7°W which put it about 95 miles (155 km) south-southeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.  It was moving toward the northwest at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1004 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Punta Herrero to Cabo Catoche, Mexico.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua to Punta Castilla, Honduras.

The circulation of Tropical Depression Sixteen exhibited more organization on Wednesday.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft found a distinct surface center of circulation on Wednesday afternoon.  More thunderstorms began to form near the center on Wednesday evening.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms developed on the northern and southern sides of the circulation.  There were sustained winds in some of the bands that were near tropical storm force.

Tropical Depression Sixteen will move through an environment that will be favorable for intensification during the next several days.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds will be weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Some of the western part of the circulation is passing over Nicaragua and the increased friction is the only factor inhibiting intensification.  If the center of circulation stays over water, then the depression will likely strengthen into a tropical storm on Thursday.  If the center of circulation moves over northeastern Nicaragua, then the depression will weaken.  The system is likely to strengthen when it moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday.

A ridge of high pressure is steering the tropical depression slowly toward the northwest and that motion is expected to continue for another day or so.  An upper low near the west coast of Florida is going to move west across the Gulf of Mexico.  When the upper low gets northwest of Tropical Depression Sixteen, it will start to pull the depression more toward the north.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Depression Sixteen will move near or over northeastern Nicaragua on Thursday.  The depression could drop very heavy rain and cause floods in parts of Nicaragua and Honduras.  It is forecast to move over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday and the depression could be near the northeastern Yucatan peninsula by Friday night.  The depression is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.  There is more uncertainty about the future track of the system after that time.