20-30% CHANCE OF TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IN SOUTHERN GULF… We are within hours of the official start of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season kicking off. Right on time, an area of disturbed weather now has a low chance of developing into a tropical storm in the southern Gulf of Mexico over the next few days. Let me very clear in saying this system likely will never come close to south Alabama or northwest Florida. Little to no local direct impacts are expected at this time. Let’s look at the headlines about this system…
MOVEMENT TOWARD INLAND MEXICO… Again, we’re not expecting any direct local impacts from this system (regardless of development) in Alabama or northwest Florida. Whether development happens or not, this will be a big time rain event for areas in Mexico just south of Texas.
POSSIBLE TROPICAL STORM FORMATION IN BAY OF CAMPECHE… The National Hurricane Center says there is now a 20 to 30 percent chance of a tropical storm developing in the southern tier of the Gulf of Mexico near the coastline of the nation of Mexico over the next 2 to 5 days. This is the area of the Gulf of Mexico known as the Bay of Campeche. It is not uncommon to see early season tropical development in the western Caribbean Sea and southern Gulf. Right now, the area of low pressure is situated on the Yucatan Peninsula, slowly moving to the west. The broad center of the area of low pressure will emerge over the warm waters of the Bay of Campeche likely on Sunday. To get a tropical storm, two main things would need to happen. 1) There would need to be consistent bursts of convection or thunderstorms. 2) A low-level center of circulation would need to form. Many times with these very early season tropical disturbances, you’ll get plenty of convection with no low-level center, thus no designation as a tropical storm. At the moment, that is the MOST likely scenario.
DOES THIS MEAN ACTIVE SEASON? NOT NECESSARILY… Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because we’re seeing activity this early in the season that this will be a hyperactive hurricane season. Could we have an active season? Yes. Is it likely at this point? No. In fact, the recent NOAA hurricane season outlook calls for a “near normal” Atlantic hurricane season, meaning 10-12 tropical storms, 6-7 hurricanes, and 2-3 major hurricanes. I’m sure the fear mongers will be out in full force in the days ahead preaching fake major hurricane stories set to impact the United States. Again, don’t buy into it. Let’s take it day by day and we’ll bring you the facts and the very latest information.
UPCOMING TROPICAL CYCLONE NAMES… The “A” tropical cyclone name has already been used. Subtropical Storm Andrea was a weak, brief system southwest of Bermuda that happened a few weeks ago. Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, and Gabrielle are the upcoming names on the 2019 naming list. The tropical cyclone naming lists are reused every six years, excluding names that are permanently retired (like Florence and Michael last year).
ISOLATED STORM THIS EVENING; MOST ARE DRY… Other than a lone, weakening shower near Walnut Hill and Barrineau Park, the rest of south Alabama and northwest Florida remains dry as of 7:30PM. A few pop up storms will be possible on Saturday in the afternoon hours, but I expect vast majority of us to remain dry and hot. Temperatures will again peak in the mid-90s.
NEXT UPDATE… My next public update on this tropical system will be posted by 7:15AM on Saturday morning. Let me know if you have any questions. Have a great evening!