UPDATE 2:10 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center has increased the chances that a tropical system will form in the Gulf of Mexico to 70 percent.
Forecasters said a tropical depression could form late this weekend or early next week. If the area of low pressure becomes a tropical storm, it would be named Michael.
Even if a tropical cyclone doesn’t form, tropical moisture will move north and northeastward in the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center is giving a group of showers and thunderstorms in the western Caribbean a 60 percent chance of development over five days.
Forecasters said showers and thunderstorms associated with an area of low pressure near Cabo Gracias a Dios on the eastern border of Honduras and Nicaragua became more concentrated this morning.
A tropical depression could form by late this weekend or early next week as it drifts slowly northwestward.
If it were to become a tropical storm, it would be named Michael.
According to Weather Underground’s Cat 6 blog, a similar system became Tropical Depression 16 at this time last year and would later become Hurricane Nate, which made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 1 storm on Oct. 7.
“Nate brought torrential rains and devastating flooding to Costa Rica, causing $562 million in damage (1% of their $57 billion GDP) – their most expensive tropical cyclone in history,” Weather Underground co-founder Jeff Masters in the blog. “Nate also did $225 million in damage in the U.S. The name Nate was retired after the 2017 season because of its impact on Central America, where 46 people died.”
The South Florida Water Management District said the system should be in the Gulf of Mexico by Monday, and regardless of its track, an increase of rains for South Florida, “some potentially significant”, could begin early in the week.
National Weather Service forecasters also predict an area of low pressure will develop along the trailing track of Tropical Storm Leslie and start moving west. The counterclockwise flow around that system will pull deep tropical moisture around it as it approaches Florida mid week.
Forecasters said it’s too early to “speak definitively on widespread rains or flooding threats.”
“Regardless, it still looks like a wet and stormy pattern through at least mid week, and it will be something that will be watched closely over the coming days,” meteorologists wrote in their morning forecast.