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Caribbean, Gulf Troubles May Brew After Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins

By By Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist.
May 31, 2014, 1:06:14 AM EDT

The area centered around the western Caribbean Sea and the southwestern Gulf of Mexico will be a place to watch for modest tropical development in the Atlantic Basin during early June.

This area represents some of the warmest waters of the basin and is generally free of disruptive high-level winds. Usually this area is also removed from dry air over the central Atlantic.

June 1, 2014, marks the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.


While this area is quiet and generally free of rain now, there is some indication that conditions in the vicinity of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula will become more unsettled with the potential for locally heavy rain during the first week of June.

According to AccuWeather Long Range Expert Paul Pastelok, "We are likely to see a zone of high pressure develop at mid-levels of the atmosphere over western Texas and correspondingly an area of low pressure may try to form well away, farther to the southeast."

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Weak low pressure areas aloft in the tropics, known as a trough often initiate showers and thunderstorms and can eventually instigate development.

This broad area of low pressure will then be monitored to see how quickly showers and thunderstorms are produced and whether or not the rainfall takes the next step toward organization.


"If upper-level winds remain weak in the area of showers and thunderstorms that form, there could be some room for modest development," Pastelok said.

The main impact from a weak tropical system or a disturbance would be the potential for flooding rain and gusty thunderstorms.

Late next week, anticipated steering-level winds over the eastern third of the United States may allow heavy rain to be drawn northward into the central Gulf of Mexico, then perhaps to along the central to eastern Gulf Coast and possibly along the Atlantic Seaboard.

According to Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "Any development in the area around Mexico is likely to be slow but there is an chance the atmosphere may tray to get something going in that region later next week and beyond."


It is too early to say for sure whether or not a system will develop over the western Caribbean or southwestern Gulf of Mexico next week, but this is an area to keep a keen eye on from a climatology standpoint.

In a statement from Kottlowski earlier this spring, "The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season could be ushered in by a system or two during June to July."

While El Niño is in the developing stages, its full effect on the Atlantic Basin may not be felt until late summer or fall.

The warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures over the tropical Pacific Ocean produced during an El Niño tends to cause an increase in disruptive winds for tropical development over part of the Atlantic Basin.

During early June of 2013, Andrea developed near the Yucatan Peninsula and tracked across northern Florida and up along the Atlantic Seaboard.

In 2012, two tropical storms, Alberto and Beryl, developed in May. While Hurricane Chris developed in mid-June and avoided land, Tropical Storm Debby formed just north of the Yucatan Peninsula and crossed central Florida during late June.

AccuWeather meteorologists are expecting a below-average year for tropical storms and hurricanes over the Atlantic during the 2014 season.

"We have looked back at years when there has been a below average number of tropical storms and hurricanes, and during most of these years, there has been very little tropical activity early on," Kottlowski said.

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