Watching Agatha: What could it mean for South Florida?

Local 10 Weather Authority’s Luke Dorris says middle of the week will be bellwether of what’s to come

This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Agatha, center, off the Pacific coast of Mexico on Sunday, May 29, 2022, at 11:20 a.m. EDT. (NOAA via AP) (Uncredited)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The first hurricane of the season formed off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast Sunday and rapidly gained power ahead of an expected strike along a stretch of tourist beaches and fishing towns as a major storm.

Local 10 Meteorologist Luke Dorris said he is keeping an eye on the Pacific’s Hurricane Agatha to see what, if any, impact it might have on South Florida’s weather.

“Agatha will cross over Mexico and weaken. What’s left of it will be absorbed into a big area of disturbed weather over the southern Gulf and Western Caribbean. There is a chance a tropical disturbance could form in this complex region of low pressure. We are in ‘just watch it’ mode right now to see if something can develop. We won’t know much more until we get to the middle of the week,” said Dorris.

There is potential that moisture could come our way and set the table for heavy rain and flooding into next weekend.

“That’s about as specific as we can be right now,” he said.

An upper low over Florida, which has brought recent heavy rain to the area, will tug the possible disturbance northeast from the Gulf or Caribbean. The question is whether it is just a surge of moisture or some sort of tropical disturbance.

“There’s still a great deal of uncertainty, as we don’t even have a disturbance yet. But computer models are indicating the environment will be less than ideal for a strong storm. If something forms, it would probably be a hybrid system... part tropical, part northern-type low. But it’s too early to be sure,” he cautioned.

Models are painting two scenarios for South Florida later in the week, he said. The first is that there will be plenty of rain headed our way if a system forms on the Gulf side of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The other situation is that if the disturbance has a launching point further east in the Caribbean, South Florida would remain on the drier side. “The right side is the wet side with these types of systems, and the left side is the dry side,” Dorris explained.

NHC is giving 40 percent odds to this scenario for South Florida: that a disturbance will form in the southern Gulf of the Western Caribbean mid-to-later this week.

For the Atlantic to have its first named storm of the 2022 season, Alex, a disturbance would have to reach Tropical Storm status, which means winds of 39 miles per hour or greater.

Dorris said his plan is to “watch the disturbance, see what forms in the middle of the week. It’s loosely tied to Agatha. Odds are decent it will at least brings us rainy weather or potentially very heavy rain.”

Below is a list of storm names for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season:

  • Alex
  • Bonnie
  • Colin
  • Danielle
  • Earl
  • Fiona
  • Gaston
  • Hermine
  • Ian
  • Julia
  • Karl
  • Lisa
  • Martin
  • Nicole
  • Owen
  • Paula
  • Richard
  • Shary
  • Tobias
  • Virginie
  • Walter

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

Stay tuned to Local 10′s Weather Authority for more on these developments throughout the week.

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About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local