MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — There is a ton of activity occurring in the tropics, but that is not uncommon for mid-September. There are five areas to watch, two of which have names. Tropical Storm Gaston is in the north, central Atlantic and only poses a threat to the Azores, and the other is major Hurricane Fiona.

Two areas of low pressure

There are two sites off the coast of Africa being monitored by the National Hurricane Center. One has a low chance (30%) for developing in the next five days. The other has a medium (60%) chance. Over the course of the next week, the low-chance area is exceptionally slow moving and slow to develop, so this is not an area of imminent concern. The medium-chance area will sharply curve north and is no threat.

Hurricane Fiona

Hurricane Fiona is a major Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph and the center of circulation is currently parallel the Georgia coast. It will be parallel the Carolina coast Thursday night/early Friday and will have a moderate impact on the marine forecast.

Currently, there is a small craft advisory, high surf advisory, and high rip current risk in effect for coastal Horry and Georgetown counties. The small craft advisory is due to increased wave height, more than double the normal height. Waves for Thursday night and Friday are forecasted to be 4-7 feet, and also winds will be gusty. The forecast calls for offshore winds 35-40 mph. This is going to be high enough for a gale watch which is in effect from 1 a.m. Friday until 10 a.m.

Increased wave height is due to Hurricane Fiona, and increased winds are due to the strong cold front moving through our viewing area Thursday evening.

Fiona is forecasted to weaken slightly to a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph as it passes west of Bermuda Thursday night. A hurricane warning is in effect for the island. Beyond that, Fiona is heading to Nova Scotia, Canada. Hurricane watches are in effect for most of the island.

Fiona is now forecasted to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 mph Saturday morning. The forecast has decreased tremendously as early today it was forecasted to make landfall as nearly a major hurricane with winds of 110 mph. Nova Scotia has never been hit by a major hurricane and has only been hit by a hurricane 29 times since 1863 with the most recent strike being from Hurricane Dorian (2019).


Lastly, Invest-98L is an area of disorganized convection located in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. This area has a high (70%) chance for development into a tropical depression in the next two days. Currently, there is very low wind shear in this area and for nearly all of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Waters in the projected path of Invest-98L are also warm and slightly warmer than normal. The dust is also light and there appears to be ample moisture, therefore there is nothing to hinder this area from developing into a tropical depression.

Until the system is a tropical depression, the National Hurricane Center will not provide a cone of uncertainty. Until then, spaghetti plots provide some guidance for the trajectory of the system. Five days out, most of the models place Invest-98L over open water, this would allow the system to continue to organize and potentially strengthen. Location-wise, by Tuesday afternoon, the system is likely to be in the channel between the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba.

Based on the European Model it is likely (80% chance) that by Tuesday afternoon, Invest-98L is Tropical Storm Hermine and will be entering the Gulf of Mexico.