The National Hurricane Center is keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Erin Aug. 15 and a disturbed area of weather moving over the Yucatan Peninsula.
Photo courtesy of NOAA
The official tracking map from the National Hurricane Center for Tropical Storm Erin at 11 a.m. Aug. 15.
The fifth tropical storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was moving away from the Cape Verde Islands Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, the area of disturbed weather in the extreme northwest Caribbean Sea, previously forecast to become a tropical storm today, became less organized overnight. The National Hurricane Center now gives that system a 50 percent chance of become a tropical storm or depression within 48 hours and a 60 percent chance of it becoming a tropical cyclone within the next five days.
Computer models also have shifted the most likely track more toward the coast of Mexico with fewer showing a possibility of a path toward the coast of Louisiana or Mississippi.
Erinís intensity forecast and the probable track also are uncertain. It is still too soon to tell if the storm will affect the United States or Florida. It also is too soon to tell if the storm will maintain its strength as it passes through an area of unfavorable conditions within the next five days.
Erinís maximum sustained winds remain at 40 mph Thursday morning. The storm was moving west-northwest at about 15 mph away from the Cape Verde Islands. Erin is expected to continue its west-northwest movement for the next two days.
There are no watches or warning in effect.
Computer models disagree on the track after 48 hours with some taking it on a southwesterly route and others show movement to the north. The intensity forecast calls for strengthening to maximum sustained winds of 60 mph within 48 hours before decreasing to 40 mph within five days. Some models show the storm dissipating by day five of the forecast.
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 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.