Season’s first storm could develop off Mexico

Weather watchers had their eyes on a weak area of low pressure over the central Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday amid concern the system could develop into the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. 

By Tuesday morning, forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center were predicting a 30 per cent chance that a “subtropical or tropical cyclone” could develop in the area over the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and northwestern Cuba. 

Conditions suggest the system, which would be named “Andrea” if it develops into a tropical storm or hurricane, will track northeast toward the Florida Keys. 

It is not considered to be a threat to the Cayman Islands. Avalon Porter, a senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service in George Town, said: “Right now, there is a high pressure system across the Atlantic, so we would expect it to stay to the west.” 

In its 8am forecast Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center cautioned that showers and thunderstorms associated with the weather system have the potential to become more organised during the next few days. 

It adds: “Regardless of development, locally heavy rains are likely to continue over the northeastern Yucatan peninsula, central and western Cuba as well as the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula during the next several days.” 

Dan Kottlowski, a tropical weather expert with private forecasting firm AccuWeather, said: “There will be a window of opportunity for the system to develop tropically Wednesday into Thursday as it begins to drift northeastward.” 

He added: “It is possible this system never has enough time to become a well-organised tropical storm or hurricane.” 

tropical-low

The orange blob in the centre of the graphic indicates an area of high rainfall and thunderstorms, which forecasters believe could develop into a tropical storm. – PHOTO: SUBMITTED
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