TAMPA (FOX 13) - A tropical wave moving over the Dominican Republic still looked "pathetic" Thursday, meaning it could still be a few more days before it develops into a tropical storm -- if it ever does.
Forecasters have been watching Invest 99L for several days, but its poor structure has confounded their efforts to predict its strength and intensity. Some models suggest a landfall along the Gulf Coast; others say it will never strengthen into a tropical system.
Thursday afternoon, the system looked ragged -- even pathetic -- on satellite, FOX 13 chief meteorologist Paul Dellegatto offered.
"From this point, to becoming a tropical storm or hurricane is going to take a lot of work. That's good. As long as the shear holds true, I don't see any significant intensification over the next few days or even into the weekend," he said.
"All the convection has been trapped on these mountains and it's basically just shearing the system apart at this point," meteorologist Jim Weber agreed. "The circulation has been just been completely disrupted."
As the system gets closer to Florida, the environment will be more favorable for development. The European model continues to suggest that the storm will curve up the west coast of Florida.
"I think that's a tough track for any storm to take from where it is," Paul continued. "I think the trend has been for the storm to be weaker as is moves our way. At the very least, I think we're going to look at a lot of moisture over us Monday and Tuesday, with some areas of heavy rain."
With the storm still far away, forecasters say it will probably be the weekend before they can predict the storm's path more confidently.
"It still has a long way to go," Paul added.