Weather

Storms are brewing for the Gulf Coast and hurricane season isn't even here yet

The official start of hurricane season is about two weeks away, but storms are already brewing that could threaten the Gulf Coast.

There were initial concerns the first storm might develop into a tropical system, but those chances have drastically decreased to the point where the Coast just has to be mindful of heavy rainfall — which some areas already started to experience Wednesday.

In Tuesday's daily weather newsletter, however, meteorologist Rocco Calaci warned of the possibility of a tropical storm moving through the Gulf of Mexico in about two weeks.

Calaci reported the two leading forecast models are "in agreement" that a tropical system will develop off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on May 25.

Calaci said one model projects a minimal tropical storm — with max wind speeds at 45 mph — moving north through the Gulf of Mexico and making landfall in Florida between Panama City and Pensacola on May 29.

He added that in the last 24 hours the system has predicted landfall along other Florida areas "so there are no guarantees that the current landfall projection is anywhere close to what might actually occur."

Because of the overlaps between the models , Calaci said he has confidence up to the May 25 projections. Because of the questions, the Coast can't safely rule out a South Mississippi landfall until Monday at the earliest.

One thing the Coast can count on, it appears, is plenty of rain.

According to the National Weather Service, scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible all the way through Tuesday.

Isolated strong or severe thunderstorms will be possible, with the main hazard being strong downburst winds.

Highs are projected to hover around 90 degrees, with lows just above 70.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2326, @patrickochs
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