- Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered the Florida Division of Emergency Management to prepare for a potential storm impact over the state’s panhandle.
- As of the Hurricane Center’s 8 A.M. update on Friday, there is a large area of low pressure in the northwestern Caribbean Sea causing scattered showers and thunderstorms.
- Weather conditions are favorable for its gradual development into a tropical depression over the next few days, according to the update and it is expected to move northward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea towards Florida.
With meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center elevating the probability of a system forming in the Gulf of Mexico, Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie to prepare for potential storm impacts over the state’s panhandle.
As of the Hurricane Center’s 8 A.M. update on Friday, there is a large area of low pressure in the northwestern Caribbean Sea causing scattered showers and thunderstorms. Weather conditions are favorable for its gradual development into a tropical depression over the next few days, according to the update, and is expected to move northward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, with a high likelihood of becoming a tropical depression late this weekend or early next week.
The Hurricane Center advises officials in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, western Cuba, and Florida to monitor the system’s progress.
“I’ve directed Kevin Guthrie and the Florida Emergency Management team to prepare for a potential tropical system currently moving across the Yucatán Peninsula,” said DeSantis on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Residents should remain vigilant and prepare for possible impacts early next week.”
Friday’s update also elevated the likelihood that a storm system will form in the next 48 hours from 10 percent to 30 percent and the likelihood of an increase in intensity occurring over the next seven days from 60 percent to 70 percent.
Path projection models forecast the storm to move northward through the Gulf of Mexico, where it is likely to strengthen into a tropical storm. If the system makes landfall over Florida, it is expected to do so early next week.
“Environmental conditions appear conducive for gradual development of this system during the next several days, and a tropical depression is likely to form late this weekend or early next week while moving generally northward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and eastern Gulf of Mexico,” reads the morning update.
When the Florida Division of Emergency Management prepares for a storm, they proactively organize and coordinate actions to minimize the impact of the approaching severe weather event, often a hurricane. This involves monitoring the storm’s progress, activating their Emergency Operations Center, informing the public about risks and safety measures, ensuring essential resources are available, and collaborating with local authorities. If needed, the agency may issue evacuation orders and develop recovery plans.
A second system that has already been classified as Tropical Storm Franklin made landfall over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it moves west towards the continental United States. Spaghetti models do not have Franklin making contact with Florida.
The latest observations come on the heels of the latest seasonal update from NOAA, which is now predicting a 60 percent chance of an above-average hurricane season, an increase from the 30 percent chance predicted in May, with 14 to 21 named storms expected, including six to 11 hurricanes, and two to five reaching major hurricane strength. Contributing factors include warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures, recorded as the warmest since 1950, and later emergence of effects typically associated with El Niño.
Last year’s hurricane season included 14 named storms, including the devastating and difficult-to-predict Hurricane Ian. The busiest year on record, 2020, had 30 named storms. The updated outlook for this year now aligns with the activity level of 2021, which saw 21 named storms.