New Tropical Depression Nine could hit Florida as Hurricane Hermine next week

New Tropical Depression Nine could hit Florida as Hurricane Hermine next week

Tropical Depression Nine has officially formed in the Caribbean and is on course to hit Florida as a hurricane next week.

The storm is forecast to strengthen over the next few days into a tropical storm, at which point it would likely be named “Hermine”.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) projects that the storm will swing north over the weekend and hit Jamaica on Sunday, Cuba on Monday and Florida by Tuesday. By the time it reaches the US, it could be a Category 3 hurricane with wind speeds up to 109 miles per hour (175 kilometres per hour).

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has urged residents to “remain vigilant and ensure their households are prepared for a potential impact.”

The tropical depression is forecast to be upgraded to a tropical storm later on Friday and reach hurricane status before impacting western Cuba.

The NHC has warned that Jamaica and the Cayman Islands could see between four and eight inches (10 - 20 centimetres) of rain. Some parts of Jamaica could get up to one foot (30 cm) of rain from the storm.

While the long-term forecast into next week is uncertain, the agency says that people “in Cuba and those along the Eastern Gulf Coast of the United States should closely monitor this system”.

Meteorologists have issued warnings since early this week when the storm crossed into the Caribbean where it’s likely to encounter lots of warm water – the kind of conditions that can quickly intensify a storm.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Fiona is on a direct path to Atlantic Canada. Forecasters say it could bring wide-scale power outages and flooding from the intense rain and hurricane-force winds projected to hit Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Two other storm systems are brewing in the mid-Atlantic. Tropical Depression 10 has formed off the west coast of Senegal and is likely to become a tropical storm in the next day or two, according to NHC. Another, closer to North America and moving westward, has a 30 per cent chance of forming in the next five days.

After “Hermine”, next on the official hurricane name list are “Ian” and “Julia”.

Hurricanes are expected to grow stronger on average in the next few decades as the climate crisis accelerates and raises ocean and air temperatures.

In the past 40 years, a higher percentage of hurricanes have reached major status of Category 3 or higher, according to the United Nations leading climate science panel.

This article is being updated