17 June 2024

Season's first named storm could form this week

Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, though it has been fairly quiet so far.  There are a couple of areas of interest now: one headed toward the southeast U.S. coast with a low chance of formation (30%), and one in the southern Gulf of Mexico with a high chance of formation (70%).  If the Gulf of Mexico system reaches tropical storm status, it would take the first name on this year's list: Alberto.

Evident in the infrared satellite animation below is the very disorganized appearance of the eastern one north of Puerto Rico and the huge envelope of moisture and thunderstorms slowly coalescing around a deepening low pressure in the Bay of Campeche.

The models are not in great agreement over what happens, but they do agree on the big picture.  The western system in the Gulf of Mexico will slowly ooze northward, though may track westward enough to run into Mexico before making it as far north as Texas.

There's minimal support for development of the eastern system, and among the ensemble members that do anything with it, it heads northwest toward somewhere between northern Florida and North Carolina.  It remains weak and as of now does not appear to have a big rainfall footprint associated with it.

Regardless of development into a tropical cyclone, heavy rain from the system in the Gulf will find its way to Texas from Tuesday morning through Thursday morning... this map shows the forecast rainfall totals over the coming week:

Over the past five decades, the median date of first named storm formation is June 15, so we're a tad behind that, and this is already the latest a first named storm has formed since 2014 (that was on July 1).

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