AL96 upgraded to Tropical Depression Seven, with track likely to bring it near the Leeward Island by Friday, residents advised

Forecasters continue to monitor the weather system known as AL96, which has been upgraded.

As of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 14, The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it has seen enough development to classify this system as Tropical Depression Seven.

Meteorologist Dale Destin says that any further strengthening of the system will have it classified by the name “Fiona.”

At minimum, he advises, light and loose objects will need securing if the system impacts as a minimal storm, with gusts of perhaps 65 mph. He adds that most tents would be significantly impacted if they are not taken down in a timely manner.

Persons are asked to continue monitoring the weather forecast and to move to complete their hurricane preparations.  

Meanwhile, the NHC says it may issue tropical storm watches for portions of the Leeward Islands later today.

Currently, Tropical Depression Seven is about 800 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is moving to the west at 14 mph with sustained winds of 35 mph.

The latest advisory brings it near the Leeward Islands by Friday, September 16, as a tropical storm with winds of around 45 mph. The track will eventually move this system toward Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by the weekend.

At present, the biggest threat to the eastern Caribbean islands is heavy rainfall, with some gusty winds also possible.

“Beyond this week and into this weekend, the track becomes more unclear. Land interaction and other limiting factors will keep T.D. Seven from strengthening too much over the next several days,” the NHC says.