BREAKING: Tropical system possible in Gulf of Mexico

The National Hurricane Center has identified an area of low pressure near the Yucatan Peninsula that has a 20 percent chance of development over the next 5 days.

If the system grows into a tropical storm, it would be named Bret.

The system would be the first of the traditional June 1 to Nov. 30 hurricane season. It is moving slowly to the northwest.

Check The Palm Beach Post’s storm tracking map.

The first named storm of the year, Arlene, formed in April far off in the Atlantic.

AccuWeather and The Weather Channel have been talking about the potential development of this cluster of thunderstorms since Monday.

AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said high wind shear should keep any development from happening in the near term, but if the shear lets up, the door may open for organization.

“The lowering wind shear may produce a suitable environment for development somewhere from the northwestern Caribbean to the southwestern Gulf of Mexico during June 18-24,” AccuWeather notes.

Related: 2017 hurricane names

Kottlowski said if the system gets going, Florida is probably not a target.

Instead, a path into northeastern Mexico is more likely.

The Gulf of Mexico and western Caribbean are the typical areas for storms to brew up this time of year. Hurricane season runs June 1 through Nov. 30.

Related: Simple gourmet meals for after the hurricane. 

On average, one June named storm forms in the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico every one to two years, according to The Weather Channel.

But last year, tropical storms Colin and Danielle both formed in June.

Tropical Storm Colin on June 7, 2016

A key seasonal hurricane forecast is calling for an above-normal number of storms this year, the first time since 2013 that its May prediction clearly points to an unusually active Atlantic basin.

Atmospheric clues plucked from the surface of the sea and columns of sky led the Climate Prediction Center to the conclusion that El Niño may be a no-show, leaving a ripe environment for tropical cyclone formation.

The center, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Thursday it predicts 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher. The forecast includes Tropical Storm Arlene, which formed in April in the far-off Atlantic.

“We are expecting a lot of activity this season,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for the Climate Prediction Center. “There is a combination of factors pointing to a more active season — El Niño, warmer than average ocean temperatures, wind shear.”

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Author: Kimberly Miller

Kimberly grew up outside Washington D.C. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 1995. Her beats have included K-12 education, universities and colleges, real estate, and general assignment.

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