TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A tropical wave in the Caribbean could make landfall as a strong tropical storm just north of the Tampa Bay area.
On Friday, the latest European model projections continued to show the storm coming ashore near the Cedar Key area in Florida’s Big Bend region next week.
Invest 93L is currently located near the Yucatan Peninsula and is expected to strengthen and become better organized over warm Caribbean waters this weekend. It could become a tropical storm as early as Sunday. If that happens, it will be named Idalia.
The system is forecast to emerge from the Yucatan Straits on Monday and take a northeastern turn towards the Florida Gulf coast. Depending on the storm’s path, the Tampa Bay area could see outer rain bands as early as Tuesday. The brunt of the rain and winds would impact the region on Wednesday.
The Euro model has been consistent in showing the system making landfall near the Cedar Key area as a strong tropical storm. This means the Tampa Bay region would likely experience heavy rain, wind gusts up to 60 mph, and a few feet of coastal flooding. Wednesday’s full moon is a super moon, so tides will already be exaggerated.
Other models show the storm impacting the Big Bend and Panhandle areas as a strong tropical storm or weak hurricane, but it is too early to tell exactly where it is headed.
“Bottom line: It is likely we will have a well-formed tropical storm or even a low-end hurricane in the Gulf early-midweek,” Max Defender 8 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Berardelli said. “Have your hurricane kits replenished and ready just in case.”
Invest 93L now has an 80% chance of development, according to the National Hurricane Center.
WFLA.com will have interactive streaming coverage on Tracking the Tropics starting Sunday night with Chief Meteorologist Jeff Berardelli.