Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine Path, Track: System Likely to Turn Into Tropical Storm, Strike Florida

Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine is likely to turn into Tropical Storm Isaias within the next 36 hours, bringing with it wind and rain as far north as Florida.

The disturbance formed on Tuesday in the Atlantic and was spreading heavy rainfall and gusty winds over the Leeward Islands on Wednesday morning. The storm is expected to move north toward Puerto Rico and is on track to hit Florida, but regardless of the exact path it takes, meteorologists warned that its rainfall and winds will extend far from the system's center.

Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine has the potential to bring life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides across the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 miles per hour. Some strengthening is expected on Wednesday, followed by weakening on Thursday when the storm makes contact with land.

The NHC forecast that the cyclone will "probably take some time to recover" after it moves over the "very high mountains" of Hispaniola. The southwesterly change in wind direction, known as a shear, over the Straits of Florida could also limit the system's potential.

"Simply put, there are a lot of hurdles in the system's way, so it is best to stay on the conservative side at the moment and continue to stress the large uncertainty after it leaves the Caribbean," the NHC said in a forecast.

tropical cyclone nine forecast, path track
Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 is likely to turn into Tropical Storm Isaias within the next 48 hours, bringing strong wind and rain to Florida later in the week. National Hurricane Center

Although the storm's maximum sustained wind speed falls within the range of a tropical storm, the NHC told Newsweek it lacks close low-level circulation, with the strongest winds and concentrated thunderstorms surrounding the center that's necessary for a tropical storm.

The NHC gave the formation a 90 percent chance of turning into a tropical storm within 48 hours, meaning maximum sustained surface wind speed would be between 39 and 73 miles per hour. To prepare people for the storm's impact, the NHC issued a tropical storm warning for 10 areas, including Puerto Rico, Antigua, Barbuda and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Isolated rainfall of up to 10 inches is possible in Puerto Rico, and isolated totals of up to 12 inches could occur across the Inagua Islands. The level of precipitation that's expected could cause life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides, as well as potential riverine flooding.

Winds of tropical storm force are extending outward up to 275 miles, and the NHC warned the system could cause wind and rain in Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida by the end of the week. The most recent forecasts say winds up to 30 miles per hour will arrive in Florida late Friday night into Saturday morning.

However, the NHC cautioned against focusing too much on the storm's track. That's because the details and intensity forecasts are more uncertain than usual since the system doesn't have a well-defined center.