First storm of Atlantic hurricane season possible this weekend


(NewsNation) — The Atlantic hurricane season has been underway for two days, and meteorologists are already watching an area of disturbed weather off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula that has the potential to become the first named storm of the season, Alex.

The system, which was kicked off by the remnants of Hurricane Agatha coming from the Pacific, is still poorly organized but there are conditions which may encourage its formation into at least a tropical storm over the weekend.

Fortunately, that development will likely come as the system tracks into the Atlantic Ocean after crossing Cuba and Florida as a mass of rainstorms. Heavy rains and gusty winds are possible, along with the potential for localized flooding from the tropical downpours.

The National Hurricane Center gives the system a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression as it moves northeastward across the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean over the next two days.

Regardless of development, it is a very “wet” storm, loaded with tropical moisture that it will drop in great abundance along its track.

During the summer, especially when surface water temperatures exceed 80 degrees, the Gulf of Mexico is a tinderbox for storms. The warm water engenders storm formation, and allows even small storms to develop into large hurricanes quickly. This is what causes storms to approach the Gulf Coast as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane and then suddenly balloon to monster storms 12 to 24 hours before landfall. That is not expected in this case, as water temperatures haven’t reached their summertime highs, but there’s still plenty of warmth to nourish the storm.

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