Tropical weekend weather?

Published 12:04 am Thursday, August 15, 2013

At the very least, system will dump rain here

The National Hurricane Center is giving a broad area of low pressure in the Caribbean a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm over the next 48 hours, and an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next five days.

The tropical wave was moving west-northwest at 10 miles per hour when the National Hurricane Center updated its forecast at 8 last night.

Some projection models show the system dumping rain onto the central Gulf Coast and inland beginning Saturday.

Whether it is officially named or not, tropical moisture is expected to surge into the Southeast for the end of the week, reported. This will bring the potential for heavy rain that could stall over the area for a few days.

Meanwhile, forecasters are watching a low pressure system off the coast of Africa. It also has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm during the next 48 hours.

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updated its Atlantic hurricane season outlook, saying the season is shaping up to be above normal with the possibility that it could be very active. The season has already produced four named storms, with the peak of the season – mid-August through October – yet to come.

“Our confidence for an above-normal season is still high because the predicted atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are favorable for storm development have materialized,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. “Also, two of the four named storms to-date formed in the deep tropical Atlantic, which historically is an indicator of an active season

The conditions in place now are similar to those that have produced many active Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995, and include above-average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a stronger rainy season in West Africa, which produces wind patterns that help turn storm systems there into tropical storms and hurricanes.

Across the Atlantic Basin for the entire season – June 1 to November 30 – NOAA’s updated seasonal outlook projects a 70 percent chance for each of the following ranges:

• 13 to 19 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including

• 6 to 9 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which

• 3 to 5 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

These ranges are above the 30-year seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.