Tropical Storm Bret formed yesterday evening from Depression Three. For the latest, check the Key Messages regarding Tropical Storm Bret (en Español: Mensajes Claves). While still classified as a minimal tropical storm, it looks like of the two options discussed yesterday the trends are towards a more southerly course, so the storm will be in conditions favorable for intensification for a couple of days and could reach hurricane strength later this week. However, after that conditions over eastern and central Caribbean aren’t as good for the storm, and it should weaken. Here is the estimated impact swath, using my TAOS/TC model simulating the official NHC forecast as of 5am Tuesday morning:
This track is a bit south of the initial forecasts yesterday. There remains a lot of uncertainty, especially how strong the storm can get. Most of the models keep the storm at or just below hurricane force, but a couple of the dedicated hurricane specific models like HWRF flare the storm to Category Three intensity. That’s probably not very likely but some might try to use it to create more FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to drive site traffic.
On this track, expect watches and warnings for the islands of the eastern Caribbean later today or in the morning. Estimated economic impacts are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The Island of Martinique is in the direct path, and as the official forecasts advises, those in the Lesser Antilles should be anticipate tropical storm conditions by the end of the week, and those in Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico should “closely monitor updates to the forecast for Bret and have their hurricane
plan in place.” After that trends are for a weak system to continue across the central Caribbean or break up south of Hispaniola, but as noted above depends on how strong it can get before it reaches the Caribbean. No realistic threat to the US Mainland at this point (or probably ever).
Behind Bret is AL93. NHC is watching it closely as it could become a depression in the next couple of days, currently tagged at a 70% chance. Forecast tracking has it staying out of the Caribbean and east of Bermuda, but that’s all fuzzy for a storm that hasn’t spun up yet. It’s way out there so nothing to worry about yet.