TAMPA (FOX 13) - As a tropical wave in the Caribbean remains disorganized Thursday morning, forecasters are still having a hard time predicting how much of an impact it could have on the state of Florida.
An Air Force recon plane on Wednesday found winds of tropical storm strength amidst Invest 99L, but there was no sign yet of any closed circulation. Wind shear was also still keeping the largest area of storms separate from the presumed center of circulation.
"This is a part of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic where usually development is slow," offered FOX 13 chief meteorologist Paul Dellegatto. "We're going to have to wait probably another day or two until things get going and we get the possibility of seeing it become a tropical depression or even Tropical Storm Hermine."
Without a defined center for the system, forecast models are struggling to determine what the storm might do. One typically reliable model, the GFS, predicts that the storm will remain a mere low pressure system with only heavy rain.
The European model on Tuesday had predicted a hurricane shooting through Florida Straits and slamming to Texas. Wednesday's run suggested a large storm hugging the west coast of Florida.
"If this was to verify and come up the coast like this, that's not a good situation for us at all," Paul offered before adding an important warning. "But there's just zero model consistency beyond five days. So while you look at this and say 'Uh-oh, we're in trouble,' I would not fret or be overly concerned yet. We'd have to see this happen on multiple runs before we look at his and say, 'Let's go out and stock up on necessities.'"
"The difference between the two models could not be more different at this point," agreed meteorologist Mike Bennett.
"The advice is -- we hate to be so wishy-washy about this -- but the advice is to do what we're doing," Paul added. "And what we're doing is waiting until we see some sort of consistency or something that would give us some confidence in a forecast beyond three to four days. And I have zero confidence now in how this is going to impact us."