8:01PM May 13, 2018

AREA OF LOW PRESSURE IN GULF TO MOVE NORTH THIS WEEK… The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is now suggesting that the area of low pressure currently centered just west of Ft. Myers, Florida has a 30-40% chance of becoming a named tropical or subtropical storm over the next 72 hours as it drifts northward toward our area. IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a *separate, distinct system* from the “hurricane/tropical storm potential” that has been widely advertised for late May. That potential is all over the board on models with very little certainty. This separate, developed area of low pressure has more certainty involved with the forecast. Let’s talk…

SEPARATE SYSTEM… It’s worth repeating because I’ve been on such a rant about it lately… This is NOT the system that is the supposed “late May hurricane potential” that I’ve seen thrown around so much lately. Friendly reminder that the forecasting skill beyond seven days out is basically nil. Forecast models beyond 7 days provide ideas, but really nothing more. See the earlier video discussion for more about this… https://www.facebook.com/rzweather/videos/987150221443317/

LOCAL IMPACTS… RedZone Weather serves south Alabama and northwest Florida. For now, regardless of IF this system develops into a named tropical or subtropical system (or not), it will keep rain chances high for Wednesday into Thursday across our local area. Also, the threat of rip currents at all area beaches will substantially increase for the latter half of the week. KEY POINT: Based on current model projections, there is nothing to suggest a major wind/tornado threat as of now for our local area. This could change, but for now, scattered rain showers and thunderstorms appear to be the main concern.

TORNADO THREAT HIGHER TO OUR EAST… For southern Georgia, the Florida panhandle east of Panama City, I would certainly suggest the potential is there for a few tornadoes later this week IF this system continues to organize and move northward. That’s a big “if” at this point. These areas would be east of the center of circulation at that point, meaning the tornado threat would be higher there. Our local area (south Alabama and northwest Florida) would be on the “better” side of what will likely be this “weak” tropical storm.

DEVELOPING LOW PRESSURE… So what’s the deal and why is this happening? An upper-level low pressure area (high in the atmosphere) with an accompanying developing surface low will move north-northeast in the days ahead before becoming an elongated trough in the northern Gulf later this week. NHC suggests that there is a 40% chance this system acquires tropical or subtropical characteristics in the days ahead before moving onshore Wednesday or Thursday. What does this mean? For now, the system is producing rain and storms over the Florida Peninsula (aka Tampa, Ft. Myers, Miami, The Everglades, and surrounding areas). As the system drifts north, a low-level circulation (spinning of the wind in a counterclockwise circulation) could form.

TROPICAL VS. SUBTROPICAL… Good question asked earlier by Tony Bigford. A subtropical storm is slightly different than a tropical storm in that there is *usually* less rain involved with a subtropical storm. Subtropical storms are weaker, generally, than their tropical counterparts. The main difference is that subtropical storms are generally “cold core” whereas tropical storms/hurricanes are warm core.

APP ALERTS… Be sure to download the update to the all new 2.11 version of the free RedZone Weather app! If you haven’t already, you’ll want to visit the Alerts tab (bottom right corner) and tap the big, yellow button to customize the severe weather alerts you want to receive from us. I’ll have plenty of updates here in the app about this system, regardless of “formal development.”

Let me know if you have any questions. Have a nice Sunday evening!

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