MIAMI — The center of Tropical Depression Thirteen was located near latitude 17.8 North, longitude 58.5 West at 5 a.m., according to the National Hurricane Center.
The depression is moving towards the west-northwest near 21 mph (33 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue for the next few days.
On the forecast track, the depression is expected to move near or north of the northern Leeward Islands later today, near or north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Saturday, and near or north of Hispaniola Saturday night.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast, and the depression is likely to become a tropical storm by the weekend.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1008 mb (29.77 inches).
Watches and Warnings
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for: The southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin and St. Barthelemy, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
Interests elsewhere in the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic should monitor the progress of this system, as additional tropical storm watches or warnings will be required for portions of those areas later today. Interests in Cuba and the remainder of the Bahamas should also monitor the progress of this system.
Meanwhile, The U.S. Coast Guard in San Juan set Port Condition YANKEE at 4 p.m. Thursday for all maritime ports in the U.S. Virgins Islands and Puerto Rico, due to Tropical Depression 13’s trajectory heading towards the islands within 24 hours.
During Port Condition YANKEE, the port is closed to all inbound commercial vessel traffic unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port. Vessels without approved applications to remain in port shall depart at this time.
The Coast Guard strongly cautions the maritime community to remain vigilant to weather forecasts for Tropical Depression 13 and to take the necessary precautions as this weather system has the possibility to strengthen and develop into a tropical storm as it approaches the area.
Mariners are reminded there are no safe havens in these facilities, and ports are safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum.
Pleasure craft owners are advised to seek safe harbor. Maritime and port facilities are reminded to review and update their heavy weather response plans and make any additional preparations needed to adequately prepare in case of a potential impact to the area. Mariners can view the latest port updates on the Coast Guard’s Homeport site.
At this time, Coast Guard Captain of the Port San Juan anticipates setting Port Condition ZULU at 8 a.m. Friday for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. These dates and times are subject to change based on future forecast.
If and when port condition Zulu is set, meaning sustained gale force winds are possible within 12 hours, the port is closed to all vessel traffic unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port. Cargo operations would be suspended, including bunkering and lightering.