Weather

Tropical system could form in Gulf of Mexico later this week

Dark clouds hover over beachgoers as they walk along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline Monday near Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Dark clouds hover over beachgoers as they walk along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline Monday near Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Northwest Florida Daily News via AP

A tropical system could form in the Gulf of Mexico later this week, and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami are keeping eye on it.

In an 8 a.m. advisory Tuesday, the Hurricane Center said that “a broad area of low pressure is expected to form over the western Caribbean Sea or Central America late this week or this weekend. Some gradual development of this system is possible thereafter while it moves slowly northwestward.”

Forecasters say there is a 20 percent chance — which is considered low — that it could become a tropical cyclone in the next five days.

Hurricane season began on June 1. This is expected to be an above average year for tropical weather, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicting 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine of which would become hurricanes, and two to four of which would become major hurricanes.

There’s already been one named storm this year. Tropical Storm Arlene formed in the Central Atlantic on April 20 and remained far out at sea, but it was only the second recorded instance of a tropical storm forming in April.

Last year, powerful Hurricane Matthew brushed Florida’s east coast in October, causing damage and flooding mostly to coastal areas but leaving more than 1 million people in the state without electricity.

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