The forecast, while still uncertain, is beginning to firm up a bit from where it *was*. Instead of being from Mexico to SW FL, it’s looking like a NW FL to SW FL event, and probably impacting the Big Bend or perhaps panhandle of FL. New Orleans can nearly certainly breathe a sigh of relief — even though a couple of models still send it that way (so keep an ear open just in case).

NHC is going with the GFS model as the centre of the cone, and they are the experts. Meanwhile, however, a second cluster of models in the spag is showing Panama City and the rest of the panhandle as possibilities; this is probably not being covered in the media as much, so I’m pointing it out here:

2016-08-29 12_33_14-09L_tracks_latest.png (768×768)

If the GFS is right, here’s the prediction for Thursday around noon:

2016-08-29 12_18_50-Numerical Model Prediction - Tropical Tidbits

Remember: This is one model, one run. If the system develops more strength or goes east or west, it could be drastically different. For Panama City, this looks like a no-rain scenario (or brief showers). But if TD9 strengthens to a Cat1 and moves slightly west, we could get the full force of it.

So, finally, here’s the NHC Discussion product, which I always recommend everyone reads. Especially the last paragraph this time:

TROPICAL DEPRESSION NINE DISCUSSION NUMBER   4
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL       AL092016
1100 AM EDT MON AUG 29 2016

Deep convection associated with the tropical cyclone increased this
morning, especially around western Cuba where rainfall totals of up
to 12 inches may have occurred.  A NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft
investigated the system earlier this morning and did not find winds
of tropical storm force.  Based on those observations, and Dvorak
satellite estimates, the current intensity is held at 30 kt.  An Air
Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the
depression this afternoon, which should give a better estimate of
the strength of the system.  Vertical shear should remain modest
for the next couple of days, but begin to increase around 72 hours
as the environment becomes more baroclinic with strong upper-level
westerlies prevailing over northern Florida.  This is likely to
discourage significant strengthening as the cyclone nears landfall.
The official intensity forecast is close to the latest
statistical/dynamical LGEM guidance.

The center is not easy to locate but is believed to be situated
near the northwestern edge of the cloud mass, and the motion is
estimated to be 280/6 kt.  A mid-tropospheric shortwave trough
developing over the southeastern United States is expected to
induce a turn toward the north and northeast in 2 to 3 days,
followed by acceleration toward the east-northeast late in the
forecast period.  The official forecast is similar to that from the
previous advisory, and is mainly a blend of the latest GFS and
ECMWF solutions but leans toward the latter model.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  29/1500Z 23.6N  84.3W   30 KT  35 MPH
 12H  30/0000Z 23.9N  85.3W   35 KT  40 MPH
 24H  30/1200Z 24.4N  86.4W   40 KT  45 MPH
 36H  31/0000Z 25.0N  87.0W   45 KT  50 MPH
 48H  31/1200Z 26.1N  86.7W   50 KT  60 MPH
 72H  01/1200Z 28.6N  83.8W   55 KT  65 MPH
 96H  02/1200Z 31.5N  79.0W   50 KT  60 MPH
120H  03/1200Z 34.0N  71.5W   50 KT  60 MPH