Tropical storm could form off the Florida coast on the first day of the 2023 hurricane season, forecasters say

A tropical storm could form off the coast of Florida on Thursday, the first official day of the Hurricane season in the AtlanticNOAA meteorologists said. If winds reach 39 miles per hour in the tropical depression, it would be the first named storm of the season.

The system, initially called the Invest 91L and since being upgraded to Tropical Depression Two, started out as just a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday night, with only a 20% chance of becoming a cyclone within 48 hours. But as of early Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said it could become a tropical storm, with a 70% chance of development.

“Recent satellite wind data, along with buoy and ship observations, indicate that the area of ​​low pressure over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico has a broad but well-defined circulation with maximum sustained winds around 35 mph,” he said. the agency on Thursday afternoon.

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The National Hurricane Center issued an advisory shortly after 4:30 p.m. ET that the storm has strengthened into a tropical depression.

The system has shown thunderstorm activity, the agency said, and conditions appear to be “favorable” for the system to continue to develop.

However, the depression, which could still become a tropical storm if wind speeds pick up, is expected to be “short-lived,” the center said, adding that it is likely to “roam” over the Gulf overnight. , but you can turn south on Friday. It is not expected to strengthen over the weekend and will “probably” remain offshore and head towards Cuba.

A Hurricane Hunter aircraft was expected to further investigate the system on Thursday afternoon. If it grows to become classified as a tropical storm, it will be the first named storm in the Atlantic Hurricane season:Arlene.

Forecasters predict that 2023 will see a “near normal” season, with at least 12 named storms.