Charlotte weather: Is the tropical depression a threat to NC, SC?

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Carolinians shouldWatch carefullya tropical depression which formed in the Caribbean on Friday and could develop into a hurricane in Florida next week, National Weather Service meteorologists said.

The Carolinas are unlikely to experience hurricane-force winds and rain from what is expected to become Tropical Storm Hermine on Friday afternoon, meteorologist Doug Outlaw of the NWS office in Greer, South Carolina, told the Charlotte Observe Friday noon.

Thanks to a high-pressure Canadian weather system expected to descend from the Great Lakes mid-week, he said. This system “is going to be a roadblock for the tropical system moving north from the Caribbean and the Gulf,” he said.

“Of course, things could change,” Outlaw said.

If the Canadian system moves east or west of its predicted track, “we could get rain and strong winds” from Hermine, he said.

Tropical Depression Nine was moving through the central Caribbean, NWS Greer’s office said on Twitter at 11 a.m.

“Expect this system to become the next named tropical storm later today, which will be Hermine,” NWS office Greer said on Twitter. “Please continue to watch this storm closely.”

The storm should bea major hurricaneapproaching the Florida peninsula by Tuesday, according to a National Hurricane Center bulletin at 11 a.m. Friday.

On Friday morning, the North Carolina Emergency Management Office also urged North Carolina to track the tropical depression.

“The uncertainty of forecasts beyond Sunday remains quite highand this system will need to be monitored over the weekend as forecast details and potential impacts to NC later next week become clearer,” the bureau said on Twitter.

After Jamaica, the storm is expected to approach the Cayman Islands and Cuba “like a strengthening hurricane, with further intensification likely once it emerges over warm southeastern Gulf of Mexico waters” , according to the bulletin.

An Air Force Reserve “hurricane chaser” plane is producing satellite imagery and data as its crew tracks the storm, Hurricane Center officials said.

At 11 a.m. Friday, depression was 515 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Its 35 mph winds are expected to strengthen over the Caribbean Sea, forecasters from the Hurricane Center said.

This is a developing story.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989, covering locals, towns and major news events in the area, and served as editor of the newspaper’s press office. He is currently reporting the latest news.

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