Tropical storm depression Erin and Invest 94L on the afternoon of Aug. 18.
With more than three months to go before the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends, meteorologists are continuing to keep a close eye on the tropics.
Former Tropical Storm Erin was little more than a “swirl of clouds with a small patch of deep convection” Sunday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. Now a depression, Erin should weaken into a remnant low within 12 to 24 hours.
A second system, known as Invest 92L, which forecasters have been watching for the past several days as the low pressure made its way into the Gulf of Mexico, was off the map as of Sunday morning. However, the weak wave located off the Mexican coast continues to bring rain and moisture to the Florida Panhandle and other parts of the Gulf coast. Pinellas County is not affected.
A new tropical wave emerged off the coast of Africa this morning. The NHC put odds of 10 percent that Invest 94L would develop into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours and 20 percent, it would develop within the next five days.
According to the NHC, the wave is located between the coast of Africa and the Cape Verde Islands. Development is expected to be slow as the storm moves westward over the tropical Atlantic Ocean at 10 p.m.
Forecasters said a “well-defined area of moisture surrounds the wave and should help protect it from the Saharan Dry air layer” over the next few days. If this system were to develop into a tropical storm, its name would be Fernand.
Peak 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 Administration’s 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 Gray’s 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.
Klotzbach and Gray released their forecast for Aug. 16-29 and expect “above-average” activity.
Andrea was the season’s 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.
Erin brings the count of named storms for the season to five. It started as a depression on Aug. 15 and strengthened into a tropical storm the same day. Erin was downgraded back to a depression on Aug. 16, strengthened into a storm again on Aug. 17 before wind speeds decreased and Erin’s status returned to a depression.