Tropical depression or season's first tropical storm likely to form in southwestern Gulf, while system could emerge near Bahamas

Angie DiMichele, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Weather News

The chances continue to increase that a tropical storm or tropical depression could form in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico by midweek, the National Hurricane Center said, while forecasters are watching for a yet-to-emerge disturbance that could develop into an area of low pressure northeast of the central Bahamas and potentially affect the east coast of Florida.

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

The system in the Gulf of Mexico is forecast to move slowly west or west-northwest, and, in the 7:13 p.m. Sunday tropical outlook, saw its chances of developing jump from 30% to 50% in the next two days and remain at 70% in the next seven days.

Gale warnings have been issued for portions of the Gulf of Mexico and the system could bring heavy rain and potential flooding across parts of southern Mexico and Central America.

Meanwhile, the system that could emerge near the Bahamas has been given a 30% chance of development over the next seven days, 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.


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 Robin Webb and Bill Kearney contributed to this report.)

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