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Eastern Pacific May Yield Gulf of Mexico Tropical Concerns

By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
June 02, 2014, 1:07:29 AM EDT

Tropical troubles brewing in the eastern Pacific may lead to concerns in the Gulf and far northwestern Caribbean soon after the official start to the Atlantic hurricane season. meteorologists are monitoring an area south of Mexico, in the eastern Pacific, for a new tropical storm to take shape over the next few days.

It is possible that the system's energy could then slowly fuel tropical development in the Atlantic Basin in the days that follow.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin officially commences on June 1.


After bringing the threat of flooding rain to southern Mexico and neighboring Central America, energy from the system is likely to reach the southern Gulf of Mexico or the far northwestern Caribbean during the latter part of next week.

"The environment that we are seeing unfolding across the Gulf of Mexico and far northwestern Caribbean for next week would cause any tropical feature to move slowly and support possible slow development," stated Meteorologist Rob Miller.

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A slower solution would increase the chances of the system developing, according to Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

"The faster the system reaches the Gulf of Mexico, it will have a harder time developing due to the presence of strong wind shear," Kottlowski stated. Wind shear refers to winds above the surface that can rip apart developing tropical systems.

"The longer it waits to come out, the better chances the wind shear slackens and development takes place."

Regardless of whether a tropical system takes shape, heavy rain could be drawn across western Cuba and northward to Florida and the central Gulf Coast later next week or the following weekend.

Another possibility is that the Atlantic ridge of high pressure may hold firm and direct the system, along with its drenching showers and thunderstorms, into northeastern Mexico later in the week.

The area of concern for tropical development in both basins is currently a broad area of low pressure located a few hundred miles south-southeast of the Gulf of Tehuantepec.

The low should organize into a tropical depression within the next day or two.

"It will tend to drift northward into the Gulf of Tehuantepec by Tuesday, possibly strengthening into a strong tropical storm or hurricane," stated Miller.

The waters in the path of the system are sufficiently warm for tropical development. While some wind shear is present, it is not overly strong.


The next tropical storm in the eastern Pacific would acquire the name "Boris."

"Flooding rain and mudslides would be the main impact, with some mountainous areas potentially receiving 10 to 20 inches (250 to 500 mm) of rain during the upcoming week," Miller continued in regards to the effects of the system in southern Mexico.

As the system's moisture is drawn northward, heavy rain is likely to overspread the majority of far southeastern Mexico, including the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as Guatemala and Belize.

Cities that will potentially endure a soaking from the system include Oaxaca, Veracruz, Merida, Belmopan and Guatemala City. Vacationers at the resort cities of Cancun and Chetumal also face an unpleasant wet stretch of weather.

"It has already been active across the resort areas on the Yucatan Peninsula due to daily thunderstorms, but the weather will only get worse next week as moisture from the eastern Pacific system comes into play," Miller stated.

Despite the disruptions to vacationers and the prospect of flooding and mudslides, Miller pointed out that the rain will bring long-term benefits to easing the ongoing drought across the area.

If a system in the eastern Pacific acquires a name and makes the track across southern Mexico without dissipating, it would then keep its eastern Pacific name in the Gulf of Mexico or northwestern Caribbean. However, storms from the eastern Pacific typically do not survive the trip across mountainous southern Mexico.

If the system dissipates over southern Mexico and only a piece of its energy fuels a new tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, the new system would acquire a name from the Atlantic Basin's list.

The first tropical storm of 2014 in the Atlantic would be named "Arthur."

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