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Forecasters closely monitoring the tropics for possible next storm development

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
May 25, 2019, 8:48:05 AM EDT

Caribbean 5.25 AM

Clouds from showers and thunderstorms over the western Caribbean Sea are seen on satellite early Saturday, May 25, 2019 (NOAA)

The southern Gulf of Mexico may serve as the breeding ground for another tropical storm to form near June 1, the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

On the heels of short-lived Subtropical Storm Andrea, there are indications that another storm may take shape at the end of May or start of June.

Instead of near Bermuda as was the case with Andrea, AccuWeather meteorologists are keeping a close eye on the southern Gulf of Mexico for potential development.

"A large counterclockwise wind pattern, called a gyre, has set up over Central America," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

"There is a very small chance for some tropical development due to this gyre in the southern or southwestern Gulf of Mexico toward the end of next week into early June," he stated.

The water in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico are warmer than normal, which could cause any system that forms to then strengthen into a tropical storm.

The next named storm in the Atlantic Basin will be called Barry.

"If there are any impacts on the Gulf Coast of the United States, it would not be until next weekend (June 1-2)," Kottlowski said.

Tropical May 24

If indications point toward a tropical system forming, its strength and what areas may be at risk for flooding rain, wind and rough surf will become clearer in the coming days. Factors that could affect both strength and track, such as the formation and movement of other weather features, first must be ironed out.

"It is just as possible that a ridge of high pressure holds strong next week and prevents any tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico," according to Kottlowski.

Another scenario is that the tropical system forms earlier over the northwestern Caribbean Sea.

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Download the free AccuWeather app to remain aware of any tropical threats. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

"In the meantime, there are no tropical threats for the Gulf Coast of the U.S. brewing for the Memorial Day holiday weekend," Kottlowski said. However, residents of the southeastern U.S. will instead have to endure a heat wave and take the necessary precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses when partaking in holiday festivities.

As the official start to hurricane season and the prospect of the second named tropical storm looms, residents all along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. and Mexico, as well as other locations prone to hurricanes are urged to have a plan in place in case the worst occurs this hurricane season.

“[The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] NOAA just did a statistical analysis and asked the question: Do you have a disaster plan in place? Only 16% of respondents said they actually had one,” Kottlowski said.

2019 Atlantic hurricane season

“These include people who live along the Gulf coast and the Atlantic. If you live within 50 miles of the coast, you should be prepared to be hit by a Michael or a Florence or a Harvey. Use those as examples,” he said.

AccuWeather’s 2019 predictions for the Atlantic hurricane season have not changed since the initial forecast was released on April 3.

Forecasters continue to call for 12 to 14 tropical storms this season.

Of those, five to seven are predicted to become hurricanes and two to four are predicted to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher with winds of 111 mph or higher).

Additionally, it’s believed that the United States may endure two to four impacts — though it’s too soon to say where these might take place.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center released its Atlantic hurricane season forecast on Thursday morning. The prediction says a near-normal hurricane season is most likely in 2019.

NOAA expects nine to 15 named tropical storms, four to eight hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes, with a 70% confidence in these ranges.

An average Atlantic hurricane season yields 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

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