On Thursday afternoon, the NHC began classifying the system as a potential tropical cyclone 1 and issued a tropical storm watch for southern parts of Florida’s east and west coasts, as well as the Florida Keys. The watch includes Miami, Sarasota, Key West, West Palm Beach and Melbourne.
A tropical storm watch has also been issued for the Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, Havana, Artemisa, Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth.
A “potential tropical cyclone” is a term the NHC developed as a way to issue watches and warnings for a storm system that is expected to develop as it approaches land. Prior to this change, the NHC was unable to issue watches and warnings until a tropical storm had actually developed, which limited the turnaround time for critical warnings.
“Whether the storm builds up or not, significant flooding is possible in South Florida and the Keys,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. “It’s too early to tell where the heaviest precipitation will be because it’s not even a storm yet, but models indicate 12 to 16 inches of rain is possible in the worst areas.”
“There is still some variability on how this system will track, but heavy rainfall capable of dispersing into numerous flash floods is certainly plausible in southern Florida and the Keys,” the Weather reported Thursday morning. Prediction Center (WPC).
They predict a moderate risk – level 3 out of 4 – of excessive rainfall, leading to flash flooding.
Deep tropical humidity will rise ahead of the likely storm and over southern Florida throughout Friday and Saturday.
South Florida is most likely on the way
Forecasting computer models are beginning to agree that a tropical storm or depression will form and hit South Florida.
“The latest model guidance is beginning to agree on this low passing somewhere over the southern portion of the Florida peninsula on Saturday,” the National Weather Service in Miami said Thursday morning.
The path is important because if it takes a more southerly route, it could protect the densely populated areas of South Florida from the serious threat that comes from the northeast side of tropical storms and hurricanes.
“Gusty winds and one or two isolated tornadoes will be the main severe threat Friday and Saturday,” the NWS said in Miami. “These details remain uncertain as it will depend on the exact track of the system. A more southerly track would put the northeast quadrant over water, which would be a best-case scenario for extreme weather in South Florida. “
So the path matters, even if it’s just a tropical storm.
Chad Myers warns that until the NHC locates the exact center of this storm, forecast models will struggle to accurately predict the path of this storm.
This information will be used in computer models on Thursday evening, giving a better indication of the storm’s track and potential strength.
On Wednesday evening, without knowing the exact location of the center of the storm system, the US model had 3 different locations of low pressure at exactly the same time, Myers explains. “To me, this indicates that the wind shear in the region may slow the organization of the potential storm and, for now, prevent it from rapidly developing.”
This system contains two of the three ingredients needed to form a hurricane
For a hurricane to form, you need “warm ocean water, weak wind shear, and a group of pre-existing storms…we have 2 out of 3 right now,” explains Myers.
Wind shear is the change in wind speed and direction as you rise through the sky. If it’s strong – as it is in the Gulf of Mexico right now – it’s hard for hurricanes to form.
“We have many opposing forces here,” Myers says. “It’s like trying to speed up your car and not realizing your emergency brake is on.”
If the drag – wind shear – eases, there is a remote possibility that this storm will intensify more than expected.
That’s the least likely scenario, though.
Another above-average hurricane season forecast
They forecast an above-average year, with 14 to 21 named storms, 6 to 10 hurricanes, and 3 to 6 major Category 3 or greater hurricanes.
There are several contributing factors that play into a “busy” hurricane season.
“We are in an active period,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said. “Certain ingredients determine the intensity and frequency of hurricanes.”
This phenomenon creates colder than average ocean temperatures around the equator in the Pacific and results in weather impacts around the world.
La Niña presents favorable conditions for hurricanes in the Atlantic, unlike those of El Niño.
This is the most named storms CSU has ever forecast for the June season, Phil Klotzbach, author of the forecast, told CNN. In 2020, the university’s forecast center predicted 19 storms in its June release, but that number included three storms that were named before the season began.
This year, no storm has yet formed.