Potential Tropical Cyclone Thirteen is tracking westward in the southern Caribbean Sea Oct. 6 just off the northern coast of South America. As of 11:00 AST, the storm’s center of circulation was approximately 240 km (150 miles) east-southeast of Curacao.
Forecast models indicate the system will develop into a tropical depression as it tracks west-northwestward and moves over the Paraguana Peninsula in northwestern Venezuela late Oct. 6. The system is then expected to strengthen into a tropical storm as it continues to track west-northwestward and makes landfall over the Guajira Peninsula in northeastern Colombia early Oct. 7. The storm is forecast to strengthen further as it tracks west-northwestward then westward over the central Caribbean Sea Oct. 7-9 and will reach Category 1 hurricane strength before turning to track northwestward early Oct. 9, making landfall over the central-eastern Nicaraguan coast mid-Oct. 9. The system is then expected to weaken back to a tropical storm as it tracks generally northwestward over northern Nicaragua, western Honduras, and south-central Guatemala Oct. 9-10, before dissipating over western Guatemala early Oct. 11. Some uncertainty remains in the track and intensity forecast, and significant changes could occur in the coming days.
As of 11:00 AST Oct. 6, authorities in Colombia have issued a tropical storm warning for northeastern coastal areas from the Venezuela border to Riohacha in La Guajira Department. Officials could issue new warnings and/or watches in response to the developing system in the coming hours.
Forecast models predict rainfall accumulations through early Oct. 10 of 7.5-15 cm (3-6 inches) over northern coastal Venezuela, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, the Guajira Peninsula in northeastern Colombia, and central Nicaragua. Accumulations of 15-30 cm (6-12 inches) are forecast over the Colombian islands of San Andres and Providencia and 15-25 cm (6-10 inches) over eastern Nicaragua. The heavy rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods in affected areas, as well as landslides over higher terrain. Swells generated by the disturbance will affect Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, parts of northwestern Venezuela, and northwestern Colombia through Oct. 7 and could spread to Jamaica, Providencia, and San Andres Oct. 8 and the east coast of Central America Oct. 9.
Sustained heavy rainfall could trigger flooding in low-lying areas and those with easily overwhelmed drainage systems. Localized evacuations, flash flooding, and landslides are possible if weather conditions prove hazardous.
The inclement weather could trigger localized business, transport, and utility disruptions, rendering some bridges or roadways impassable. Flight disruptions at regional airports and temporary closures of ports are also possible. Raw sewage and other hazardous materials mixed with floodwaters pose a serious health threat.
Activate contingency plans in areas where officials forecast typhoon or tropical storm conditions. Heed any evacuation orders that may be issued. Use extreme caution in low-lying coastal areas and near streams, creeks, and other waterways due to the potential for severe flooding and storm surge. Stockpile water, batteries, and other essentials in advance. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellular phones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Keep important documents and necessary medications in waterproof containers. Observe strict food and water precautions, as municipalities could issue boil water advisories following flooding events. Take precautions against insect- and waterborne diseases in the coming weeks.
Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistics disruptions in areas in the path of the storm, especially if vital infrastructure is damaged. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where flooding has occurred. Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or driving to the airport; clearing passenger backlogs may take several days in some locations.