The tropics have lit up like a Christmas tree this week with two hurricanes in the central Pacific, one in the Atlantic and tropical depressions off the coast of North Carolina and in the Gulf of Mexico. There is a hurricane warning in effect for the island of Hawaii as Hurricane Madeline passes just south of the big island. Madeline will be quickly followed by Hurricane Lester, which is expected to pass north of the Hawaiian islands on Saturday.
Closer to home Hurricane Gaston continues to churn away in the middle of the Atlantic. Despite being a thousand miles away Gaston has been producing rough surf and rip currents locally, contributing to one death earlier in the week. The rough seas are likely to continue as Tropical Depression Eight strengthens a bit and passes a few hundred miles to our southeast over the next couple of days.
Finally, there is Tropical Depression Nine. Nine has been around seemingly forever, stubbornly refusing to strengthen into a tropical storm, but it is worth paying attention to the next few days. The storm is expected to reach tropical storm strength today and start heading in a northeasterly direction, passing over northern Florida and southern Georgia on Friday. Some forecast models have the storm curving northward and passing very close to eastern Long Island late on Sunday or on Monday. It is still too early to have a lot of confidence in that forecast but the potential exists for a very rainy and windy Labor Day.
It is looking much more certain that we will see some rain later today. A cold front is quickly dropping south through the state and there is a 50/50 chance of showers, and perhaps a thunderstorm, from this evening through early tomorrow afternoon. This afternoon will warm to the mid to upper 80s. After the front passes we should have several days with highs only the in the mid to upper 70s. First time that's happened since early July.