The National Hurricane Center is keeping a close eye on Tropical Depression Erin Aug. 16 and a disturbed area of weather over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.
Computer generated forecast models for potential tropical development in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.
Photo courtesy of NOAA
The official tracking map from the National Hurricane Center for Tropical Storm Erin at 11 a.m. Aug. 16.
National Hurricane Center meteorologists forecast that Tropical Storm Erin would weaken and possibly become a depression by Tuesday; however, they did not indicate that weakening could happen overnight.
As of 11 a.m. Friday, the NHC reported that Erin had weakened to a tropical depression. Maximum sustained winds are 35 mph. Sustained winds must be at least 39 mph for a system to be considered a named storm. Little chance in strength is forecast over the next five days, and it is possible that the depression will weaken into a remnant low of open trough in the next few days. NHC official track shows the depression moving over open waters, well away from any landmasses.
NHC canceled the Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft mission planned for today to check out the area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico. The system moved offshore of the Yucatan Peninsula overnight. Meteorologists continue to forecast conditions favorable for development could be possible in the next couple of days.
NHC gives odds of 50 percent that the system will become a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours and 60 percent within the next five days. Latest computer models of the storm's potential track take the storm west toward the coast of Mexico or Texas.
Peak of the season is here
The peak months of the Atlantic basin hurricane season are August through October. The basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationís updated outlook for the 2013 calls for an extremely active season with 13 to 19 named storms with six to nine strengthening into a hurricane and three to five becoming a major hurricane, Category 3 or higher.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. No hurricanes have formed thus far this season.
Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray, hurricane experts from Colorado State University, also predict that the remainder of the 2013 season will have above-average activity.
Klotzbach and Grayís updated forecast issued Aug. 2 calls for 18 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Their forecast also gives odds of 63 percent that a hurricane will affect the state of Florida and a 28 percent chance of a major hurricane affecting Florida.
Andrea was the seasonís first tropical storm. It formed June 5 in the east-central Gulf of Mexico. Andrea had winds of about 65 mph when it made landfall in Dixie County about 10 miles south of Steinhatchee about 5:40 p.m. June 7. Andrea brought wind and rain to Pinellas County, causing minor damage to the beaches. Rain bands from the storm spawned a tornado that touched down in Gulfport the morning of June 6.
Tropical Storm Barry started as a tropical depression on Monday, June 17, as it approached the coast of Belize on the northeastern coast of Central America. It strengthened into a tropical storm June 19 in the southern Gulf of Mexico and made landfall along the coast of Mexico June 20.
The third tropical storm was short-lived. Chantal formed July 7 over the central tropical Atlantic Ocean and degenerated into a tropical wave July 10.
Dorian was the fourth tropical storm of 2013. It formed the morning of July 24 in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. It was downgraded to a tropical depression July 27.