National Hurricane Center: 50-50 chance of tropical depression forming in next week

by | Aug 16, 2023

  • The National Hurricane Center is tracking the potential formation of tropical depressions in the Central and Eastern Tropical Atlantic, with medium chances of formation in the next week.
  • The Western Gulf of Mexico shows a low chance of a broad area of low pressure forming by the beginning of next week.
  • NOAA’s updated forecast reveals a 60% chance of an above-average hurricane season, partially attributed to warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) say there is a 50 percent chance of a tropical depression forming in the Caribbean Sea over the next week, though the current weather system in that area is a disorganized cluster of showers and thunderstorms.  The NHC, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), is also monitoring a second disturbance trailing the first, with a slightly lower, 40 percent chance of formation into a more organized tropical depression over the next seven days.

Both storm clusters have a chance of growing over the next two weeks and could have some impact on Florida, though it remains too early to predict. The storms formed off the west coast of Africa and are forecast to move toward the west-northwest at about 10 to 15 mph, with a low-pressure area likely to form near or just west of the Cabo Verde Islands within the next day or so. The possibility of a tropical depression forming over the weekend remains a concern, though if it fails to form by that point, conditions may become unfavorable early next week.

There is also a low likelihood of a tropical depression forming in the Western Gulf of Mexico. A broad area of low pressure could form in the region by next week, with some slow development possible as it moves westward. The NOAA pegs the chance at 20 percent, though that particular formation, if it occurs, isn’t expected to impact Florida.

These latest observations come on the heels of the latest seasonal update from NOAA, which is now predicting a 60% chance of an above-average hurricane season. That’s an increase from the 30% 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.

As of the last update, the NHC does not foresee tropical cyclone formation over the next week in the North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico. However, preparation is strongly advised, especially since 90% of all tropical storm activity occurs during the season’s peak months. Matthew Rosencrans, the lead hurricane season outlook forecaster at NOAA, has emphasized the importance of early planning and obtaining supplies to ensure readiness in the event of a storm.

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.


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