Two storms could threaten Gulf — one as quickly as this weekend

bal-wx-tropics-stirring-with-two-possible-stor-001Two possible tropical storms are developing just in time for the traditional peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.

One system is forming between Cuba and Central America and the National Hurricane Center estimates it has a 50 percent chance of forming into a tropical cyclone in the next 2 days, and a 60 percent chance of doing so within five days.

Models are suggesting it could eventually make landfall as a tropical storm somewhere between Mexico and Louisiana, while at least one suggests it will fizzle.

The other system is much further off, developing as a wave off of the west African coast. While conditions could be favorable for it to develop quickly — about a 60 percent chance of tropical cyclone development within two days — it would then have to move through less hospitable territory across the Atlantic, possibly limiting later development, according to the hurricane center.

In an average year, the first hurricane of the season would have formed by now, usually around Aug. 10, according to hurricane season climatology data. But the season is still on or ahead of pace for the number of storms to develop, with four tropical storms so far. The fifth doesn’t normally develop until about Aug. 31.

A cloud of Saharan dust moving across the Atlantic was inhibiting storm development earlier this month, but hurricane forecasters nevertheless recently upheld predictions of an active season.

Coastal Carolina University’s HUGO Hurricane Landfall Outlook Program is brand new at the hurricane prediction game. So perhaps it can be forgiven for declaring Wednesday an “all clear” for the Gulf coast for the remainder of hurricane season.

Just ahead of the AP report on the likelihood of the two tropical storms with one expected to make landfill between Mexico and Louisiana, the HUGO Hurricane Landfall Outlook reported the likely scenario for the remainder of the 2013 hurricane season is that at least one major hurricane is predicted to make landfall on the east coast and none is projected for the Gulf Coast.

The HUGO Hurricane Landfall Outlook Program is a new hurricane model system developed by scientists at Coastal Carolina University.

“The Gulf Coast will not see as much action as usual in terms of hurricanes making landfall, according to our outlook,” said Len Pietrafesa, one of the lead scientists on the HUGO team.

The factors that are used in the probabilistic scheme were updated in July and early August and the changes in those factors accounted for the changes in several of the prediction probabilities.

Two to four major hurricanes are expected to form, the Institute says, predicting that up to them could make landfall on the east coast.

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is predicting a “very active” second half of the 2013 hurricane season.

Based on the current and expected conditions, combined with model forecasts, the agency estimates a 70 percent probability for each of the following: 13 to 19 named storms, six to nine hurricanes (with winds exceeding 74 mph), and three to five major hurricanes (with winds exceeding 110 mph) to form before the 2013 season ends on Nov. 30.

Four named tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic Basin — which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea — since the 2013 hurricane season began June 1. None of those storms have strengthened into hurricanes.

— from wire reports

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