Invest 99L Becomes TD #9

Disturbance Finally Reaches Elusive Tropical Depression Strength

Over the last 24 hours, things have begun to pick up with what had been a beleaguered Invest 99L. On Saturday afternoon, shower and thunderstorm activity associated with the disturbance began to blossom as it hugged the north coast of Cuba. On Sunday, a weak circulation began to develop, and Hurricane Hunter aircraft declared it as a depression as of 5:00 PM EDT.

Currently, Tropical Depression Nine is located in the Florida Straits some 55 miles to the Northeast of Havana, Cuba, or approximately 60 miles to the south of Key West, Florida. Maximum sustained winds are at 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 mph. Minimum central pressure is at 1009 millibars or 29.80 inches of Hg (Mercury). TD #9 is moving to the West at 9 mph.

There are no watches or warnings for any coastal areas. However, the depression is producing tremendous rainfall along the northern coast of Cuba, and is expected to generate anywhere between one and four inches of rainfall in South Florida and the Florida Keys through Wednesday. Residents along the Gulf Coast need to monitor the progress of this system, especially now that it is moving away from the rugged mountains of Cuba and into the high octane waters of the Gulf.

Looking at the forecast track of TD #9 from the National Hurricane Center, the depression will continue moving away from Cuba and the Florida Keys on Monday, and then gradually make more of a turn to the north on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the system will be heading a little more to the North-Northeast in the Central Gulf of Mexico. The intensity forecast is murky, which is understandable due to not only the the current state of the depression, and the performance history of both the GFS and Euro on this system.

Right now, the European model (ECMWF) indicates that the depression will dissipate in the Gulf while the GFS is showing development over by days four and five. Keep in mind, experts have bee critical of the performance of these two models with this system, and the depression is still a fledgling system. So, the NHC remains cautious with a bit of a conservative forecast calling for TD #9 reaching 50 mile per hour winds within 72 hours and staying at that intensity through five days.