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Tropics are mostly quiet, but there’s an area to watch near Florida

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A weak cold front is going to slide into Florida over the next couple of days and stall out over the central part of the state. At the same time, a related upper-level disturbance will drift near or over Florida Friday into the weekend. This complicated combination of weak systems is forecast to cause a rainy weekend over the southern peninsula, and there’s a slight chance that some sort of organized system could form over the Gulf Stream off the Florida coast out of the remnants of the dying front.

The National Hurricane Center is painting an area off the Southeast coast where a system could organize. They are giving it a low to medium chance of coming together, at least briefly, over the weekend.

The upper-level winds are forecast to be marginally conducive for development, although the forecasts are iffy due to the interaction of the front and the upper-level system, which may or may not stay connected to whatever system develops at the surface of the ocean. If anything develops at all.

In any case, nothing strong is expected to form out of this sloppy mix of systems, but there could be enough organization to a system offshore of Florida for the National Hurricane Center to start writing advisories.

At the very least, the combination of factors, including increasing tropical moisture should result in periods of heavy rain. A stormy weekend is forecast, and the extra moist atmosphere is forecast to last into next week.

As always with potential, weak and developing systems, however, expect the forecasts to change.

Elsewhere in the tropics, Saharan dust is dominating the atmosphere. Disturbances are coming off Africa, but the dust extends so far south over the tropical Atlantic that they don’t have room to maneuver.

In addition, the global atmospheric pattern is not conducive for significant tropical development in the Atlantic at the current time. As is often the case, when the Pacific is active, as it is right now, the Atlantic is somewhat suppressed. That doesn’t mean that a system can’t form, it’s just less likely to get very strong in this scenario.

None of this is out of line with what’s normal. July is normally a quiet month. Based on long-term averages, the various factors that suppress tropical development let up around mid-August.


About the Author:

Bryan Norcross is currently a hurricane specialist at Local 10 News, the station where he began his stretch on television in Miami in 1983.