By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
WEATHER officials are monitoring a system moving towards the northwest Bahamas that could potentially develop into a tropical depression this week, becoming the first tropical system of the 2020 season.
Noting that officials are keeping a close eye on the disturbance, Deputy Director of the Department of Meteorology Basil Dean told The Tribune yesterday: “This system is moving out of the Gulf of Mexico, really across the Florida peninsula which means it must also cross the extreme northwest Bahamas — Bimini, Grand Bahama and Abaco.
“And simultaneously, Florida will be experiencing some of the same type of weather conditions that we’re experiencing here in the Bahamas because of the direction in which this low pressure is moving.
“So, it’s moving more towards the open waters of the Atlantic once it leaves the Bahamas.”
AccuWeather officials predict that the potential system will encounter favourable weather conditions that possibly lead to tropical development.
“It appears this system, should it form, will likely be lopsided with a considerable amount of dry air on its westward side, closest to the US, and showers and thunderstorms on its eastern side, over the Bahamas,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
However, Mr Dean said officials currently do not see the system posing as a major threat to the country.
He said: “We don’t see it as a major threat because even if it were to develop into a major tropical disturbance, meaning a tropical depression, it will perhaps either form either directly over the northwest Bahamas or as it moves away from the northwest Bahamas.
“So, by the time it would have gained any significant intensity, it will be out of our forecast area.”
Still, the local meteorologist maintained that officials will continue monitoring the system as well as several others.
“We’re simply forecasting unsettled weather right into the middle of the week as result of those two systems, that is the low-pressure system and the trailing cold front which would be drifting into the central Bahamas later on (Monday night) and (today).”
Mr Dean said this is the start of the rainy season, with wet weather and occasional thunderstorms expected for the next several days.
Weather experts have already predicted that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will be an above average one, with two to four major hurricanes expected this year.