Officials have issued hurricane watches for several small islands in the Caribbean as Tropical Depression 13 continues to pick up strength and intensity. According to reports, on Friday, Tropical Depression 13 is expected to turn into a tropical storm and then a hurricane over the weekend as it pummels toward Central America.
Tropical depression transitions to a tropical storm
Once this storm’s winds reach at least 39 mph, it will be classified as Tropical Storm Julia, making it the 10th named tropical cyclone in the Atlantic this season. Then, it will transition to a hurricane if its winds reach at least 74 mph. At this time, the NHC expects that to happen by Sunday as it nears Central America.
Currently, Tropical Depression 13 is located about 60 miles south-southeast of Curaçao in the ABC island chain. The storm system also has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and is now moving westward at about 15 mph.
According to NHC officials, a tropical storm turns into a cyclone when winds go above 73 mph. The NHC also assigns names to tropical storms using the official name list for that particular season. The list gets created by the World Meteorological Organization.
According to news outlets, the system will move near the so-called ABC island chain of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, the coast of northwestern Venezuela, and the Guajira Peninsula of Colombia on Friday morning.
The system will then move across the southwestern Caribbean Sea and approach the coast of Nicaragua on Sunday.
Officials to issue hurricane watches for parts of Central America, Caribbean Islands
“By Sunday morning, we could be tracking our next hurricane in the Caribbean. That would then slam into places like Nicaragua, over toward places like Costa Rica,” meteorologist Michael Estime said. “Keep in mind, if it takes a more southerly trajectory, Costa Rica would certainly be in line for this, and then, of course, Honduras.”
Colombia’s government has also issued a Hurricane Watch for the communities of San Andres, Providencia, and the Santa Catalina Islands. At the same time, tropical storm warnings are in effect for the coast of Colombia.
According to officials, a hurricane watch means hurricane-force winds could be seen in the area within the next 48 hours. A tropical storm warning signifies that tropical storm-force winds are expected for the next 24 hours.
In addition, the northern coast of Venezuela, the ABC island chain, the Guajira Peninsula of Colombia, and central Nicaragua are expected to get between three and six inches of rain. Some areas could also get as much as 10 inches of rain.
The Colombian islands of San Andres and Providencia could also get as much as six to 12 inches of rain.