Meteorologists are watching two areas of the Atlantic basin for systems that could develop into menacing storms over the next week.
Franklin is now a hurricane
Franklin, which killed at least one person in the Dominican Republic and left hundreds of thousands of people without power there and in Haiti, grew in strength from a tropical storm to a hurricane Saturday as it tracked through the Atlantic.
Forecasters at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center said they expect the storm to continue to gain force, peaking as a Category 2 or even Category 3 hurricane by mid-day Monday before beginning to lose strength.
Predictions show Franklin passing between Bermuda and the N.C. Outer Banks Monday night into Tuesday. Though it will be several hundred miles offshore, the storm will generate rough seas from Currituck to Surf City on the North Carolina coast.
NOAA’s marine forecast said that from about midnight Monday to about midnight Tuesday, seas could swell to 5 to 8 feet in that area.
Higher seas bring a greater risk of rip currents. The National Weather Service maintains a surf zone forecast map for the whole U.S.; if you’re planning a visit to the beach, the map will show whether there is an elevated risk of rip currents for the area.
Eyes on another potential threat
Forecasters also are concerned about Tropical Depression 10, which formed Saturday from a low-pressure system in the northwestern Caribbean. NOAA said conditions favor the system becoming a tropical storm by Sunday while it moves generally northward over the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters said the storm, which would be named Idalia, could strengthen to a hurricane as it traverses the Gulf.
Meteorologists say that system develops as expected, it would likely move into Florida near the top of the peninsula, bringing heavy rain, storm surge and strong winds to portions of Florida’s west coast. From there, it could move up the Southeastern coast and generate heavy rain all the way to North Carolina from the middle to the end of next week.
Saturday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 33 counties to help people prepare for the storm.