FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A broad area of low pressure, which would be the remnant of a tropical storm, is expected to form in the southwest Gulf of Mexico by the middle of the week and it could gradually develop and drift eastward toward South Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The system, which the NHC gives a 20% chance of development, would be a remnant of Tropical Storm Agatha, which is currently in the eastern Pacific and expected to develop into a hurricane.
“For us in South Florida, it’s still kind of hard to know if there will be any impacts from any of the remnants and Agatha,” said Robert Garcia, senior meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
Garcia said the more immediate thing to watch in South Florida is Saturday’s potential for excessive rainfall, localized flooding and gusty winds.
“That’s something folks should keep an eye on as they’re making their plans,” he said.
Rip current warnings are in effect for South Florida beaches this Memorial Day weekend, and afternoon rains and thunderstorms are expected Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Agatha, which became a tropical storm early Saturday morning after becoming a tropical depression on Friday night, is southwest of mainland Mexico.
Agatha has 40 mph winds and is expected to drift west before turning northeast, intensifying into a hurricane, and making landfall in southeast Mexico early in the week.
At that point, after going through the mountainous regions of Mexico, Agatha is expected to emerge in the Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico, or Caribbean Sea, where it could become the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which begins Wednesday (June 1).
“Agatha would have to cross over some pretty mountainous terrain in Mexico, so it may not survive clear into the Gulf,” Garcia said. “One of the things we’re going to have to keep an eye on is whatever leftovers there are of that storm, what could potentially come from that.
“But it’s so far out in time at this point it’s very difficult with any specificity to discuss it.”
Wind shear could prevent or delay Agatha turning into a hurricane until later in the week. But if Agatha or its remnants cross into the Gulf of Mexico conditions could be favorable for development. The loop current, a body of warm water which begins between Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba’s western tip, extends north into the Gulf of Mexico, and then southeast to the Florida Straits, is especially warm for this time of year. The loop current could supply fuel in the form of warm water for tropical system development.
Garcia said we’ll have to watch Agatha because we’re entering our unsettled summer pattern of weather.
“I would say that would be something to keep an eye on as we head into mid and late week, just to see what happens as the storm approaches on the Pacific side of Mexico,” he said. “It’s forecast to make a landfall there as a hurricane and then we’ll see how it emerges as it crosses Mexico.”
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