National Hurricane Center eyeing tropical disturbance in the Gulf

Lee Herald Favicon 16The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season doesn’t officially start for another two weeks, but a system off the west coast of Florida has meteorologists watching closely to see if the season is going to come early.

But conditions appear to be hostile to giving a “pre-season” tropical system.

On Tuesday morning, the National Hurricane Center gave the system a 10 percent chance of generating into a tropical system, noting the disorganized system hasn’t shown any signs of organization or gaining tropical characteristics over the weekend and into Monday, when it had a 20 percent chance of development. The odds are even lower now, the NHC says, as conditions are even less habitable for tropical development.

Still, forecasters warn that the system is likely to dump rain through Florida and the Southeastern United States over the next few days.

The low-pressure system has been influencing Southwest Florida’s weather the last couple days, leaving gloomy skies for much of Sunday, and the National Weather Service recorded about an inch of rain on Monday throughout much of the area.

Though the official “start date” of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean is June 1, tropical disturbances can form at any time. Last year, Tropical Storm Arlene became the first named storm of 2017 when it formed in open ocean waters in April, while two named storms, Hurricane Alex and Tropical Storm Bonnie, formed before June in 2016.

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