Tropical Depression Nine Develops Near the Bahamas

Tropical Depression Nine developed near the Bahamas on Friday afternoon.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Depression Nine was located at latitude 25.6°N and longitude 75.0°W which put it about 140 miles (225 km) east-southeast of Great Abaco, Bahamas.  It was moving toward the northwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1009 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Abacos, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island and New Providence.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the Florida coast from Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County Line.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter plane was able to identify a low level center of circulation in a tropical disturbance near the Bahamas on Friday afternoon and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Depression Nine.  The center of circulation developed on the southwestern side of a cluster of thunderstorms just east of the Bahamas.  The circulation around the depression was still in the early stages of organization.  Most of the stronger thunderstorms were occurring in the eastern half of the tropical depression.  Bands in the western half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.

Tropical Depression Nine will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification during the next few days.  The tropical depression will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  A large upper level low over the Gulf of Mexico will produce southerly winds which will blow toward the top of the depression.  Those winds will cause moderate vertical wind shear and they will inhibit intensification.  The upper low is forecast to move westward away from the  tropical depression and the wind shear could decrease during the weekend.  Tropical Depression Nine is forecast to slowly become more organized and it could strengthen into a tropical storm.

The upper low over the Gulf of Mexico will help to steer Tropical Depression Nine toward the northwest during the next day or two.  A strong upper level trough over the Great Lakes will start to turn the depression toward the east later in the weekend.  On its anticipated track the center of the depression could move near the Northwestern Bahamas.  If Tropical Depression Nine brings wind and rain to that region, it will hinder efforts to recover from Hurricane Dorian.