Arlene moving southward, to lose wind intensity as it eyes Cuba
AccuWeather forecasters say the tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico will track toward Cuba throughout the weekend.
AccuWeather forecasters are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Arlene, and they say it is expected to take a southward track toward Cuba.
Hurricane season officially began for the Atlantic Ocean basin on June 1, and AccuWeather forecasters are already tracking an organized tropical system in the basin. Tropical Depression Two formed on Thursday afternoon in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and strengthened into Tropical Storm Arlene early Friday afternoon.
As of 10 a.m. CDT Saturday, Tropical Depression Arlene was located about 145 miles west-southwest of the Dry Tortugas. The storm has sustained winds of 35 mph and was moving to the south-southeast at 7 mph.
Through the weekend, Arlene is forecast to continue its southeastward track north of Cuba and approach western Cuba. Along the way, rain and winds from the storm will lead to rough seas along and expanding outward from the storm's track.
AccuWeather forecasters say that while the storm will remain over open, warm water, Arlene is fighting an uphill battle to strengthen and has transitioned to a tropical depression mid-morning on Saturday.
"Wind shear is forecast to keep Arlene from gaining additional strength as the week comes to a close and will likely contribute to its downfall over the weekend," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde.
In terms of direct impacts on the United States, AccuWeather forecasters say the storm's overall reach has been very minimal. Arlene has remained just far enough west of Florida to produce only a glancing blow, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.
This AccuWeather Enhanced RealVue™ Satellite image shows Tropical Depression Arlene in the eastern Gulf of Mexico on mid-morning Saturday.
The bulk of rainfall directly from Arlene has remained over open waters, but the tropical system hasn't left Florida entirely untouched. With copious amounts of tropical moisture in place, Arlene helped enhance showers and thunderstorms along the Florida Peninsula, with over an inch of rain falling in some locations.
For anyone headed to the beach this weekend, there can be some rough surf and the potential for rip currents along the Florida Panhandle and portions of the west coast of the peninsula.
Heavy rain to raise flooding concerns in Cuba
By the end of the weekend, the storm will begin to affect portions of Cuba.
"The main impacts will be in the form of heavier rain and thunderstorms as well as higher surf along the western side of the island," said Rinde. "Some localized flooding will be possible with heavier bands of rain crossing the area."
During this timeframe, strong wind shear in the vicinity of the Caribbean Sea is likely to cause the storm to deteriorate rapidly and ultimately dissipate.
Even after the circulation from the depression is gone, rain and lingering tropical moisture will continue to bring periods of heavy rain to a swath of Cuba into early next week.
Looking for signs of other tropical activity across the Atlantic
Beyond Tropical Depression Arlene, AccuWeather forecasters are not expecting a flurry of tropical development in the short term.
"We continue to monitor a few tropical waves across the Atlantic basin, although all of these waves remain poorly organized and do not show signs of tropical development," explained Pydynowski.
Overall, AccuWeather's 2023 Atlantic hurricane forecast predicts a near-historical average season for the basin.
The second named storm of the 2023 Atlantic season will be known as Bret.
Tropical Depression Arlene isn't the first organized tropical cyclone forecasters have tracked in the basin this year.
Earlier in May, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) revealed that a subtropical storm developed off the northeastern coast of the United States back in January. The NHC made that discovery after forecasters conducted a reassessment of past weather patterns.
It's because of that subtropical system in January that the NHC initially labeled this current storm as Tropical Depression Two before it strengthened into Tropical Storm Arlene.
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