Why was Tropical Storm Isaias called a potential tropical cyclone?

WINK News has had many viewers ask why Tropical Storm Isaias was being called “Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine” by the National Hurricane Center.

A potential tropical cyclone refers to an area of disturbed tropical weather that has not yet become organized into a tropical depression, storm or hurricane.

In the opinion of NHC, a “potential tropical cyclone” has a high probability of becoming a tropical depression, storm or hurricane within the next 48 hours.

Designating it as “potential” allows the NHC to issue watches and warnings for land areas in the path of the system before it develops.

The National Hurricane Center defines Potential Tropical Cyclone as:

A term used in NWS advisory products to describe a disturbance that is not yet a tropical cyclone, but which poses the threat of bringing tropical storm or hurricane conditions to land areas within 48 hours.

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