Invest 98L what to watch

Invest 98L what to watch

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Invest 98L, the tropical system that’s expected to head into the Gulf of Mexico next week, reached the Caribbean Sea on Thursday and is expected to become a depression in the coming days.

People all along the Gulf Coast of the United States have been keeping a close eye on forecast models and asking whether or not it could eventually come their way. However, it’s still far too soon to say where the system will go once it makes it to the Gulf of Mexico.

“We have a relatively high confidence that this system will enter the Gulf,” WFLA Meteorologist Rebecca Barry said. “We have a very low confidence on where it will end up once it enters the Gulf.”

Here’s what meteorologists will be watching in the coming days to get a better idea of ​​where Invest 98L may end up.

Training

Invest 98L still hasn’t even officially formed yet, which means a lot of the long-range forecast models that have been shared on social media will likely see big changes.

“It has to form for the computer models to get a better handle on exactly where it’s going to go,” WFLA Chief Meteorologist and Climate Specialist Jeff Berardelli said. “There’s a wide envelope of possibilities.”

“The forecast models get so much better and so much more accurate once they have an actual center of rotation to begin their forecasting from,” Barry added.

Hurricane Hunter aircraft will also help provide more accurate data on Invest 98L once they start flying through the system.

“We’re going to get data points and much better information, not only about the system itself but also the environment around it and that it will be moving into,” Barry explained.

Land-interaction

The second big question mark, according to Barry, is potential land interaction.

“Whether it scrapes by Cozumel like the American model is showing or clips over Cuba like the European model is showing,” she said. “Land interaction is always a question mark with these systems. It changes the trajectory just a little bit, it weakens it just a little bit sometimes.”

Once we see if Invest 98L interacts with land, and how that interaction potentially impacts the storm, meteorologists expect to have a better idea of ​​where it will head next.

“You really don’t have a sure idea most of the time until it gets past that Yucatan channel area between the peninsula there and Cuba,” WGNO Chief Meteorologist Hank Allen said. “Once you go past that, obviously you have a pretty good idea.”

Bottom line

While it is too soon to know where Invest 98L will go and what areas could potentially see impacts, meteorologists say all of the ingredients seem to be present for a large and powerful system to develop.

“I really think this is going to be one of those storms that — if you go back to maybe an ’05 like a Wilma or even a couple years ago with that active 2020 season where we saw a couple of those storms hit the Yucatan — they really just blew up in that section of the Caribbean,” Allen said. “So I think this has all the makings of a system that really sort of ‘bombs out’… in the Caribbean. Just with all the factors there.”

Our Tracking the Tropics meteorologists say the best thing to do right now is stay calm, stay aware of the forecast and just make sure your hurricane supplies are prepared in the event the system does end up impacting your area.

“At the end of the day, everybody in the northern Gulf really needs to be watching this closely,” Allen said. “Hopefully you’ve got your supplies and your preparations ready to go because I think this could be a significant system.”

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