Tropical Depression 31 has formed over the central Caribbean on Friday (November 13), as meteorologists at the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) warn the system could further strengthen over the weekend.
According to the NHC, the cyclone is poised to become Hurricane Iota and could threaten sections of Central America—already hard-hit by Hurricane Eta, which slammed into Nicaragua and Honduras as a category four storm.
In a 10:00 am Eastern Standard Time (EST) advisory, the NHC said conditions in the Caribbean Sea continue to be favourable to the tropical depression’s development.
The next available Greek alphabet name is Iota.
“The depression is forecast to strengthen into a tropical storm
later today or tonight. Additional strengthening is likely over
the weekend, and the system could be near major hurricane strength
when it approaches Central America,” the NHC explained.
As at 10:00 am EST, tropical depression 31 was located at latitude 14.2 North, longitude 74.3 West—or roughly 500 kilometres south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.
The growing weather disturbance is moving west-southwest at 11 kilometres/hour and currently packs maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometres/hour, with higher gusts.
On the forecast track, the hurricane watchdog said it expects the system
to continue churning across the central Caribbean Sea before a projected approach to the coasts of Nicaragua and northeastern Honduras late Sunday or Monday.
In anticipation for increased showers, the Jamaica Meteorological Service has activated a severe weather alert, which remain effective until 5:00 pm on Saturday.
According to the Met Service, cloudy conditions with periods of showers and thunderstorms, which may be heavy at times, should be expected to affect mainly southern and northeastern parishes Saturday afternoon through to Sunday.
Additionally, worsening sea conditions will begin to sweep across inshore and offshore areas of the south coast, beginning on Saturday.
The state-run agency further advised fishers and other marine interests to exercise extreme caution and not venture far from the mainland, especially those operating inshore and offshore of the south coast.