UPDATE: 70 percent chance of tropical development ahead of wet weekend

Update, 8 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center said the low pressure system making its way into the Gulf of Mexico now has a 70 percent chance to develop in the coming days.

Forecasters said even the system doesn’t become a storm, there will still be heavy rainfall across Florida and the Gulf this weekend.

Original Story: The National Hurricane Center has given an area of low pressure east of Belize a 60 percent chance of development over the next five days as it heads into the Gulf of Mexico.

That’s up from 40 percent Tuesday morning. Regardless of tropical formation, the system is expected to bring more rain to Florida during the weekend.

RELATED: What’s an invest and why do they keep saying tropical cyclone? 

 

No development is forecast for the system dubbed 90L during the next couple of days because of strong upper-level winds and the low’s nearness to to the Yucatan Peninsula.

But it may begin to better organize as it moves slowly into the central or eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The system would be named Alberto if it develops.

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Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Miami said spotty showers are expected to continue today throughout South Florida, but with more bouts of sunshine than in the past few days.

“Things begin to shift late in the week into this weekend when all eyes turn to the tropical disturbance over the western Caribbean,” meteorologists wrote in a morning forecast. “Model guidance continues to feature a variety of different solutions which creates much lower confidence with the actual classification of this disturbance moving forward.”

Rain totals through Monday morning could be as high as 7 inches in parts of South Florida.
West Palm Beach

The primary threats of the system are heavy rainfall and gusty winds. There is the possibility of a “tail of tropical moisture” to linger into early next week, creating more concerns for excessive rainfall.

“Obviously, there is great uncertainty with the forecast from late in the week onward,” forecasters said. “Interests in South Florida should monitor developments closely through the rest of this week and the Memorial Day holiday.”

Many areas in South Florida are forecast to see one of the wettest Mays on record, including West Palm Beach, which could see its 8th wettest May in records dating back 123 years.

Many sites in South Florida are on track to see one of their wettest Mays on record.

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Why no storm surge deaths in 2017? What the NHC says

The 2017 storm season tormented the U.S. with four hurricane landfalls and scores of deaths, but a preliminary review shows no one succumbed to the most lethal force in a tropical cyclone’s arsenal — storm surge.

In a National Hurricane Center report released last week on Hurricane Harvey,which hit Texas in August as a Category 4 storm, officials lament the 65 lives lost to freshwater flooding but tout the lack of storm surge deaths even as up to 10 feet of hurricane-driven saltwater charged ashore.

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But it wasn’t just Harvey. Hurricane center officials said no storm surge deaths are believed to have occurred in hurricanes Irma or Maria — both Category 4s — or Category 1 Hurricane Nate, which landed near Biloxi, Miss. on Oct. 8.

The lack of storm surge deaths is being attributed by the NHC to its new storm surge watch and warning system, which debuted operationally with Harvey. While the system is not yet used in Puerto Rico, emergency managers had hurricane center-provided maps in order to make evacuation decisions based on storm surge.

SEE: Check The Palm Beach Post radar map

“We can argue that what caused it was luck, chance, geography, but you would be hard pressed to convince me it happened by itself,” said NHC storm surge specialist Jamie Rhome about the absence of storm surge deaths. “Somewhere along the way, this 10-year effort moved the needle.”

Find out why not everyone agrees with Rhome in the full story on MyPalmBeachPost.com.  

Not much was left of the homes in the Seabreeze Mobile Home Park in Islamorada Tuesday afternoon, September 12, 2017. The storm surge from Hurricane Irma passed over the area and and devastated almost all of the homes. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

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