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Possible hurricane headed toward the Yucatán Peninsula next week

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The Miami-based National Hurricane Center is watching that big red X in the Caribbean.

Hurricane watchers are concerned about a tropical wave that some computer models predict will hit the Yucatán Peninsula with force next week.

Today, Tropical Wave Invest 98-L is near the southern Windward Islands. It is still in flux, but has a 90% chance of becoming a hurricane over the next five days. The question is, will it cross the Yucatán Peninsula or Cuba?

Margaret Orr, a meteorologist for a New Orleans TV station, compares various computer models tracking a storm heading toward the Yucatán Channel next week. Photo: WDSU

Invest 98-L will move across the warm waters of the Caribbean with low wind shear. It will then pass far south of the Dominican Republic on Friday and south of Jamaica Saturday. It is looking like a tropical depression by then, said Margaret Orr, chief meteorologist at WDSU-TV in New Orleans. It is then forecast to head toward the Yucatan Channel by Tuesday, she said.

From there, computer models have its path grouped near the Yucatan Channel, over either the Yucatan Peninsula or Cuba. It’s too early to know which way it will go. Hurricane Hunters will fly over the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday to survey the storm, producing data for new computer models.

For now, the current European Model takes Invest 98-L towards western Cuba and then into the Gulf and towards the Florida Peninsula between Tampa and Longboat Key, then crossing Florida into the Atlantic, then back into Georgia.

The GFS Model, however, is trending more to the west — toward the Yucatan Peninsula, and then North into the Central Gulf.

“We do not like that scenario,” said Orr.

Neither do we.

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