Odds improve for tropical depression to form in southwestern Gulf, system could emerge near Bahamas

Angie DiMichele, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in Weather News

The chances continue to increase that a tropical depression could form in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico next week, the National Hurricane Center said, while a disturbance popped up on Saturday night that could develop into an area of low pressure in a week and affect the east coast of Florida.

The system in the Gulf of Mexico is forecast to move slowly west or west-northwest, and saw its chances of developing over the next seven days increase to 60% in the tropical outlook released at 7:10 p.m. on Saturday.

It could become a tropical depression by early or mid-week, according to the NHC.

Meanwhile, the Saturday night outlook detected an area that it said could develop into an area of low pressure located off the Florida coast, north of the central Bahamas.

This system has been given a 20% chance of development over the next seven days, with the NHC saying Saturday that an area of low pressure could form by the middle part of next week a few hundred miles northeast of the central Bahamas, with some slow development possible thereafter while the system moves westward or west-northwestward.

The 2024 hurricane season, which officially began June 1, is expected to be extremely active.

In its annual May outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the 2024 hurricane season has an 85% chance of being above normal, with 17 to 25 named storms with minimum sustained winds of 39 mph, and eight to 13 hurricanes. An average year has 14 named storms and seven hurricanes.

The first named storm to form in 2024 would be Alberto.


In addition, NOAA has forecast four to seven major hurricanes for 2024, meaning those that are Category 3 or above.

Experts at Colorado State University stated in their 2024 forecast that the U.S. East Coast, including Florida, had a 34% chance of a major hurricane making landfall this year. The average from 1880-2020 was 21%.

Forecasters say that the record-warm water temperatures that now cover much of the Atlantic Ocean will continue into peak hurricane season from August to October. That warm water fuels hurricanes. By early June, the tropical Atlantic was already as hot as it usually is in mid-August — peak hurricane season.

Hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30.


(Sun Sentinel staff writers Bill Kearney and Robin Webb contributed to this report.)


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