TAMPA (FOX 13) - Forecasters say there is now a very high chance of a tropical system forming in the Gulf of Mexico over the next few days. But regardless of the system’s strength or path, Florida should expect heavy rains.
For the last few days, the National Hurricane Center has been monitoring a low pressure system on the eastern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s expected to move north into the gulf, where there are more favorable conditions for tropical development.
In fact, the NHC now warns there is a 70-percent chance of a tropical depression or tropical storm forming in the next two days, and an 90-percent chance it happens by Memorial Day. That’s up from yesterday.
Forecast models are inconsistent on the path and strength of the potential storm. Some models bring it due north over the central Gulf Coast. Other models move it northeast over Florida. But both scenarios mean more moisture funneling up from the Caribbean, significantly increasing our rain chances over the next several days.
"The big impact will be rounds of heavy -- in some cases flooding -- rainfall for the central and eastern Gulf Coast, as well as parts of the Southeast, for several days," FOX 13 meteorologist Tyler Eliasen wrote, warning that waterspouts and tornadoes were not out of the question.
"Don’t count on many outdoor activities this holiday weekend," he added.
Gov. Rick Scott issued an advisory Thursday that said it’s “absolutely critical that every Florida family is fully prepared for potential impacts” during the Memorial Day weekend from the brewing storm.
The NHC, meanwhile, issued their outlook for the season, which officially starts June 1. Their forecasters are calling for a near to slightly above-average season, with 10 to 16 named storms.
The first storm name on this year's list is Alberto.
Only 4 named storms have formed in the Gulf of Mexico during the month of May since records began in 1851 (per @philklotzbach). Looks like we may have number 5 with possible #Alberto this weekend. #Invest90L pic.twitter.com/xmLQJbOKoc— Tyler Eliasen FOX 13 (@FOX13Tyler) May 24, 2018