TAMPA (FOX 13) - Forecasters and officials are continuing to watch a weather system that could become the season’s first tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico later this week. Either way, it will mean rainy weather through the Memorial Day weekend.
The area of concern is a broad low pressure system currently sitting just off the coast of Belize, funneling clouds and rain north over Cuba and Florida. The National Hurricane Center says there’s no chance that the system develops in the next two days, but there’s a 40-percent chance of tropical development within the next five days.
“We are in a weather pattern that is literally transporting moisture from the Caribbean all the way up over the state,” FOX 13 meteorologist Dave Osterberg explained. “It’s just dumping rain on us every single day. And it’s not going to change much going through the holiday weekend. If anything, the rain chances are going to increase.”
The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1, but early storm formation is common. The first name on this season's list is Alberto.
“We’re not concerned that this is going to become a huge tropical storm or hurricane,” Osterberg added. “It’ll be weak, but it’s going to be bringing even more moisture into the gulf.”
Regardless of tropical formation, this system is forecast to move slowly north and bring even more moisture to Florida. Forecast models call for 4 inches of rain or more across parts of the state in the next few days.
In anticipation of floods, Governor Rick Scott announced that he'd asked Florida Fish & Wildlife to preposition and stage high-water vehicles for rapid deployment, should they be necessary.