Tropical depression now more likely to form in Gulf of Mexico, experts say

South Florida should prepare for tropical downpours this Memorial Day weekend

By Bryan Norcross - Hurricane Specialist

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - The National Hurricane Center in Miami is giving a low pressure system moving into the Gulf of Mexico a 70 percent chance of tropical cyclone development within the next five days.

South Florida is still on track for an extended period of wet weather beginning Friday and continuing through the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The only question is whether South Florida will see heavy rain now and then, or an extended period of significant rain. It's likely to get noticeably breezy over the weekend as well.

There is high confidence that the broad area of low pressure in the far western Caribbean/Yucatan area will consolidate as it moves north. The consensus of the models is that the center of the system, which could develop into a tropical or subtropical depression, will move toward the northern Gulf Coast, but that track is not relevant to South Florida's weather.

The system is not expected to get very strong, so it will likely maintain it's comma shape, with heavy rain on the east side -- Florida's side -- of the system. There will be a corridor of moisture coming from the tropics in the vicinity of the Florida peninsula. Embedded in that corridor will be areas of heavy rain. But whether the heaviest is over the Bahamas, the eastern Gulf, or right over South Florida is impossible to know.

South Florida residents have to be ready for the possibility of an extended period of heavy rain.

INSIDE: Interactive Radar | Weather Warnings

Above is the morning satellite with the area of low pressure shown. The blue arrows show the upper winds, which will keep it from strengthening quickly and are also pushing the stormy weather to the east side of the system.

Also, notice the rainfall map from the National Weather Service with high rain totals from the Gulf coast to South Florida. Don't look at the specific details, as they will change, but notice the corridor of rain wrapping around the system.

The National Hurricane Center map at the top shows where the center of the disturbance is likely to develop, if it does. But again, the center is not what's important. It's where the moisture corridor sets up.

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