New tropical system gets 20 percent chance of development

The National Hurricane Center has given a new area of disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico a 20 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone over the next five days.

A broad area of low pressure is expected to form over the southern Gulf of Mexico by early next week, growing as it moves slowly north-northeastward, according to forecasters.

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The 20 percent chance for development is low, and there is no development expected over the next two days, but it is timely, materializing on the first day of the 2016 hurricane season.

AccuWeather forecasters said areas from Central America, southeastern Mexico, western Cuba and South Florida should keep an eye open for a potential system that could at least bring heavy rains.

“Torrential downpours, gusty squalls and rough seas would be the initial concerns for a tropical system in the early stages of development,” AccuWeather wrote in an afternoon update.

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If the system were to develop into a tropical storm it would be named Colin.

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National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said the development of early-season storms is not a precursor to a busy season.

And a June 1 seasonal hurricane forecast from Colorado State University remains unchanged from its April prediction of a near-normal season. That means 12 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes, not including January’s Hurricane Alex or Tropical Storm Bonnie.

So far, the 2016 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1973, 1978, 1983, 1992, and 2003, according to the report.

“1973, 1978, 1983 and 1992 were below-average hurricane seasons, while 2003 had above-average activity,” said Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science and lead author of the report.

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Atlantic basin storm names and pronunciations:

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