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Hurricane center says tropical depression could form off Florida, eyes 2nd system in Gulf

Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Weather News

ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Hurricane Center is tracking a system off the coast of Florida with a chance to develop into a tropical depression today along with one headed for the Gulf of Mexico that could develop over the weekend.

Closest to Florida is a small area of thunderstorms in the Atlantic located about 150 east-southeast of Jacksonville that may already be developing circulation and could become the season’s next tropical disturbance.

An Air Force Reserve aircraft has ventured out to the system to see if it has well-defined surface circulation.

“Environmental conditions remain marginally conducive for some additional development, and this system could become a short-lived tropical depression as the low moves west-northwestward at 10 to 15 mph,” NHC forecasters said. “The system is expected to reach the coast of northeastern Florida or Georgia by tonight, and interests there should monitor its progress.”

As of the NHC 8 a.m. tropical outlook, forecasters give the system a 50% chance to develop in the next two to seven days.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory that runs into Friday evening for northeast Florida beaches that extends south to Volusia County with breaking waves of 5 to 7 feet in the surf zone with a high rip current risk, with larger waves the further north up the coast.

“Dangerous swimming and surfing conditions and localized beach erosion. Rip currents can sweep even the best swimmers away from shore into deeper water,” warned the NWS.

Erosion will be greatest at high tide around 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., the NWS stated. Volusia County beaches are still recovering from major washout that occurred during both Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole in 2022.

The NWS also has a small craft advisory off the coast of Volusia and Flagler counties that runs through this morning, and north of Flagler County up to Altamaha Sound, Georgia that runs through Friday evening.

 

Waves of 5 to 8 feet are expected offshore with bigger waves the further north, and 15-20 mph winds with gusts up to 35 mph up Florida’s coast.

Rain hit Volusia, Lake and Seminole counties this morning, which could see more this afternoon, the NWS stated.

The second system being tracked by the NHC is a a broad area of low pressure forecast to form over southeastern Mexico later today that will soon move over water.

“Environmental conditions appear conducive for gradual development after this system moves over the Bay of Campeche tonight, and a tropical depression could form over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this weekend while it moves slowly west-northwestward or northwestward,” forecasters said. “Interests along the Gulf coast of Mexico should monitor the progress of this system.”

The NHC gives it a 50% chance to develop in the next two days and 60% in the next seven.

If either system gains enough steam to develop into a tropical storm, it would become Tropical Storm Beryl.

The season’s first named system, Tropical Storm Alberto, made landfall in Mexico on Thursday after sending damaging storm surge up the Texas coast this week as if made its way across the Gulf of Mexico.

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