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CARIB | Sep 23, 2022

Jamaica, Cayman and Cuba in crosshairs as Tropical Depression Nine forms

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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Tropical Depression Nine slowly continues to gather steam in the southern Caribbean Sea. The system is tipped to strengthen over the weekend, becoming Tropical Storm Hermine, the eighth named cyclone of the 2022 North Atlantic Hurricane Season. (Photo: National Hurricane Center)

The US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) says citizens of The Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Cuba should remain vigilant as a low-pressure system tipped to develop had formed into Tropical Depression Nine around 4:00 am today (September 23).

The NHC, in its first advisory an hour after TD Nine emerged, located the system in the southern Caribbean Sea near latitude 13.9 North and longitude 68.6 West—or roughly 985 kilometres east-southeast of Jamaica’s capital Kingston.

While there are currently no coastal watches or warnings in effect, the tropical depression continues to chart west-northwest at 20 kilometres/hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometres/hour with higher gusts.

On the forecast track, meteorologists at the NHC indicate that the system is expected to make a more westward turn over the next 24 hours before reverting to a west-northwest trajectory.

Satellite-generated time-lapse of weather conditions in the southern Caribbean focussing on Tropical Depression Nine as at 7:40 am Atlantic Standard Time (AST) on Friday, September 23, 2022. (Content courtesy of NOAA/NHC)

During that time, some “slow intensification is forecast over the next day or so”, according to the NHC forecast, “followed by more significant intensification over the weekend and early next week”.

The cyclone, tipped to become Tropical Storm Hermine over the weekend, could dump isolated maximum rainfall totals of 12 inches in Jamaica, the Miami-headquartered hurricane watchdog advised. Elsewhere, countries and territories in the system’s path include Venezuela, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and The Cayman Islands.

“These rains may produce flash flooding and mudslides in areas of higher terrain, particularly over Jamaica.”

In addition, swells generated by Tropical Depression Nine will start affecting the southern coasts of Jamaica, Cuba and The Cayman Islands, triggering “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions” over the next several days.

Five-day projection for the centre of Tropical Depression Nine, highly anticipated to drench sections of the Caribbean as Hermine, up to 5:00 am Atlantic Standard Time (AST) on Friday, September 23, 2022. (Photo: National Hurricane Center)

For its part, the Jamaica Meteorological Service has again urged fisherfolk and other marine interests to leave cays and banks along the south coast and return to shore before conditions deteriorate.

The severe weather alert, activated by the Met Service since Wednesday, remains in effect.

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