- Meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center on Wednesday raised the likelihood of a storm system developing into a tropical depression in the Northwestern Caribbean Sea to 60 percent. The estimated trajectory points toward the Florida panhandle.
- The low-pressure area currently above Central America is anticipated to move into the northwestern Caribbean Sea and potentially evolve into a tropical depression while moving northward, entering the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
- Another system, Tropical Storm Franklin, has already hit the Dominican Republic and is predicted to strengthen into a hurricane while heading westward toward the continental United States.
Meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center on Thursday elevated the probability of a storm system forming into a tropical depression in the Northwestern Caribbean Sea to 60 percent. Preliminary models place its trajectory directed toward the Florida panhandle.
As of the Center’s 2 P.M. update, the “broad area of low pressure” sits above the borders of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, with a projected northward path taking it through Mexico’s easternmost tip and into the Gulf of Mexico, where the storm is likely to strengthen.
Thursday’s update gives the low-pressure cell a ten percent chance of forming into a tropical depression across the next 48 hours, but a 60 percent chance of doing so in the next seven days.
“A broad area of low pressure centered over Central America is forecast to move into the northwestern Caribbean Sea by this weekend,” the update reads. “Some gradual development of this system is possible thereafter into early next week, and a tropical depression could form while it moves slowly northward, entering the eastern Gulf of Mexico.”
🚨 8/24: @FLSERT is monitoring a potential tropical system off the Yucatan that may impact FL early next week.
⬇️ Ensure your disaster plan is in place including a fully stocked supply kit for 7+ days for each member of your household & multiple ways to receive weather alerts. pic.twitter.com/Dbdnkqpkjo
— FL Division of Emergency Management (@FLSERT) August 24, 2023
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 storm spotting coincides with Florida’s latest round of disaster preparedness tax holidays on the year, which will include tax savings on post-storm items like batteries, ice, and portable generators.
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.