Remnants of Tropical Depression Karen are moving along offshore Gulf Coast states Sunday afternoon. A new system offshore the African coast has a 30 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone within the next five days.
Tropical Storm Karen was downgraded to a depression Saturday night and, by Sunday morning, it was gone.
“Satellite imagery indicates that the center of Karen is no longer well defined,” the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. advisory. “As a result, Karen is no longer a tropical cyclone.”
The storm’s remnants were moving eastward at about 13 mph and expected to continue to move eastward for the next couple of days. Maximum sustained winds had dropped to 30 mph. Localized coastal flooding and storm surge still is possible as the remnant hugs the Gulf Coast states of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida’s Panhandle. Rainfall of 1 to 3 inches also is possible.
Locally, Pinellas County residents can expect an increase in rain chances to start the workweek. Boaters should be aware of possible hazardous winds and seas through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. An increased chance of rip currents also is possible off local beaches. Drier air is coming for the rest of the week with daytime highs of 90 and low temperatures of around 73 overnight.
Hurricane season not over yet
Pinellas County Emergency Management recently reminded residents to stay prepared for possible tropical weather in October, which is the third busiest month for hurricane development. More than 16 percent of all storms historically have formed in October.
“When cold fronts blow out of Canada, bringing cooler air to our neighbors up north, the winds they generate tend to pick gulf storms up and push them from west to east making Florida’s west coast particularly vulnerable,” Tom Iovino, public information specialist with Pinellas County Communications, said in a press release.
The last time Pinellas County took a direct hit from a hurricane was Oct. 25, 1921. On Oct. 7, 1996, Tropical Storm Josephine caused flooding along the county’s beaches and swept a “tremendous amount of sand onto Gulf Boulevard,” Iovino said.
Hurricane Wilma, which make landfall on Oct. 24, 2005, broke several records, eventually becoming the most intense hurricane recorded in the Atlantic Basin.
Iovino said that since October storms form much closer to the county, the warning time could be considerably shorter than storms forming in August and September. Residents should visit www.pinellascounty.org/emegency to verify evacuation levels and get information on disaster planning.
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 every hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30 in the Atlantic basin. Residents who live in areas vulnerable to hurricanes should be ready to put emergency plans into action if necessary.
The Atlantic basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
The NHC is currently monitoring a system off the African Coast. The system has a 30 percent chance of development into a tropical cyclone within the next five days.
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.
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 Oct. 3, 11 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 first hurricane of the season, Humberto, formed Sept. 8 and became 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 Sept. 12 and was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph on Sept. 14. It made landfall on the Mexican coast Sept. 16.
Tropical Storm Jerry formed Sept. 29, remained over the open waters of the Atlantic until it dissipated Oct. 3.
Tropical Storm Karen formed Oct. 3, eventually moving into the Gulf of Mexico prompting warnings and watches from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle. It was downgraded to a depression Oct. 6, prior to coming ashore.