The National Hurricane Center is watching two areas of disturbed weather Oct. 1 – Tropical Storm Jerry in the Atlantic Ocean and a low pressure system in the Caribbean Sea.
Despite the shutdown of the federal government, National Hurricane Center personnel are still on the job monitoring for tropical weather, including two systems in the Atlantic basin – Tropical Storm Jerry and a low in the western Caribbean Sea.
Tropical Storm Jerry, which is not forecast to impact with land, has stalled about 1,300 miles east of Bermuda. Slow erratic movement is possible over the next few days. Maximum sustained winds were 45 mph with little change in strength over the next five days.
However, NHC meteorologists have upped the odds of a possible tropical cyclone forming within the next five days. The low pressure system currently is located in the western Caribbean Sea. The NHC said the system has a 30 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression or storm within the next two days and a 50 percent chance within five days. Locally heavy rains are possible in parts of Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands.
While it is still too soon to tell with any certainty, computer models show that Invest 97L may move into the Gulf of Mexico and possibly make landfall somewhere between the coast of Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. Residents are advised to keep current with weather forecasts.
Renowned hurricane forecasters Phillip Klotzbach and William Gray, professors with the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, released their latest forecast Sept. 27 for a period lasting through Oct. 10. The forecast is for below-average amounts of hurricane activity through the period.
“The most recent seasonal forecast called for an above-normal season,” the Colorado experts said. “Obviously, at this point, we realize that the seasonal forecast was a significant over-prediction, and we therefore do not expect to see the levels of activity this year that we earlier anticipated.”
But, it only takes one – that’s the anthem emergency management personnel and meteorologists sing ever hurricane season, which is June 1 to Nov. 30 for the Atlantic basin. Residents who live in areas vulnerable to hurricanes are urged to stay ready and be ready to put emergency plans into action if necessary.
The Atlantic basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
It was Sept. 11 before the first hurricane of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season formed. Three days later, a second hurricane formed about 195 miles east of Tuxpan Mexico.
The first hurricane of the season, Humberto, had become a post-tropical cyclone as of Sept. 14. It became a tropical storm again on Sept. 16 and maintained its strength until Sept. 19 when it was downgraded into a tropical depression. Humberto remained over open water for its entire life cycle.
Ingrid formed as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph on Sept. 14. It made landfall on the Mexican coast Sept. 16.
According to NHC records, 2013 is the first year since 2002 that no hurricane formed through the month of August. Records show that on average at least one hurricane forms in a season by Aug. 10.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate experts have predicted that as many as six to nine hurricanes could form during the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. As of Sept. 13, nine named storms have formed. NOAA’s forecast calls for 13 to 19.
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 brought the count 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.
Tropical Storm Fernand began as tropical depression six on Aug. 25 in the southwest Gulf of Mexico and strengthened into a named storm that same day. It made landfall Aug. 26 along the coast of Mexico.
Gabrielle was another short-lived storm, forming Sept. 5 and dissipating the next day. However, the storm regenerated Sept. 10, taking aim at Bermuda. The storm was downgraded to a depression on Sept. 13.
The peak months of the Atlantic basin hurricane season are August through October, and about 55 percent of tropical storms and hurricanes form during the months of September and October. Pinellas County’s Emergency Management Department reminds residents that strong and destructive storms such as last year’s Hurricane Sandy, 2005s Wilma and the 1921 Tampa Bay Hurricane all made landfall in October.
“Now is not the time to let our guard down,” said Tom Iovino, with Pinellas County Communications.