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Franklin could become hurricane by Sunday

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Tropical Storm Force wind possibilities for the next five days as of this morning (Image from the National Hurricane Centre)

Tropical Storm Franklin could become a Category 2 Hurricane early next week as it nears the island, according to the latest forecasts.

Yesterday, the US National Hurricane Centre was monitoring several systems, including Tropical Storm Franklin and Tropical Storm Harold, the eighth named storm of the 2023 season.

While Harold made landfall in southern Texas yesterday and has subsequently dissipated, Tropical Storm Franklin was over Hispaniola this afternoon, bringing significant rain.

As of noon today, the centre of the storm was about 65 miles south-southwest of Puerto Plata and moving north at 13mph.

“A turn towards the north-northeast is expected later today, followed by a northeast to east-northeast motion with a decrease in forward speed Thursday and Friday,” the NHC said.

“On the forecast track, the centre of Franklin will move off the north coast of the Dominican Republic later today and then move over the southwestern Atlantic into weekend.

“Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected through tonight, but gradual strengthening could begin by Thursday.

“Franklin could be near or at hurricane strength over the southwestern Atlantic by Saturday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles to the east of the centre.”

Early forecasts suggest that the storm will pick up steam over the weekend and turn more to the west, with the system appearing to travel to the west of the island on Monday as a Category 2 hurricane.

The forecast path of Tropical Storm Franklin as of noon on Wednesday (Image from the Bermuda Weather Service)

The Bermuda Weather Service said at noon that the system was not considered a threat to the island because its estimated closest point of approach in the next three days was forecast to be 530 miles to the island’s south at noon on Saturday.

The BWS however cautioned that the storm could move closer to the island after that time depending on its track.

The system is one of several being monitored in the Atlantic this week.

Tropical Depression Nine strengthened to become Tropical Storm Harold yesterday as it made its final approach to Texas, bringing stormy conditions and heavy rain.

By 5pm, NHC had announced that the system had weakened into a Tropical Depression and as of noon its remnants were drifting over western Texas.

Meteorologists are monitoring a thunderstorm system in the eastern Atlantic, which could develop in the coming days. However, as of yesterday, the NHC said conditions now appeared only “marginally conducive” to further development.

The NHC estimated there was a 10 per cent chance the system would become a tropical depression by Thursday afternoon and a 30 per cent chance the system would turn tropical in the next week.

On Sunday, the NHC marked the formation of Tropical Storm Emily, which petered out into a post-tropical cyclone yesterday.

Meteorologists continue to monitor the area, noting the system had a 70 per cent chance of strengthening again in the next week as it drifts north.

“Upper-level winds are forecast to become more conducive for development in a day or so, and this system is likely to regenerate into a tropical depression or tropical storm late this week or this weekend when the system moves northward over the subtropical central Atlantic,” the NHC said.

The 2023 hurricane season has been forecast to be busier than usual as warmer than normal water temperatures offset El Niño, a weather phenomenon known to limit hurricane development in the Atlantic.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that the season could include 14 to 21 named storms, of which between six and 11 could reach hurricane strength.

Of those storms, it is estimated two to five could become major hurricanes reaching at least Category 3 strength with winds of 111mph or greater.

The seven-day tropical weather outlook as of 9am on Wednesday (Image from the National Hurricane Centre)

• UPDATE: This article has been updated with the latest available information.

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Published August 23, 2023 at 2:40 pm (Updated August 23, 2023 at 2:40 pm)

Franklin could become hurricane by Sunday

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