Tropical disturbance in Gulf likely to get a name


Our weather may turn for the worse this weekend as a potential tropical system has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, and the National Hurricane Center has initiated advisories and issued warnings on Potential Tropical Cyclone for the northeast Gulf coast.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts until November 30.

A tropical storm could bring as much as 3 inches of rain on the Florida Panhandle coast and as much as 1.5 inches inland.

The disturbance, which could become Tropical Storm Nestor, had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kmh) and was located about 600 miles (965 kilometers) southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Systems that develop with the help of the jet stream often start out as subtropical depressions or storms because there is cold air aloft involved, in addition to the energy from the warm water of the Gulf.

As always, forecasts for developing systems are less certain than for well-organized tropical storms or hurricanes, so changes are certainly possible. A storm surge watch is in effect from Indian Pass to Clearwater, Fla.

"On the forecast track, the system will approach the northern Gulf coast Friday and Friday night", the NHC said. This is a very favourable environment for tropical systems to develop before the later part of the season when temperatures eventually cool.

Forecasters said that tropical-storm-force conditions are expected to reach coastal areas by late Friday, "making outside preparations hard or unsafe".

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours. The heaviest rain in Florida will remain north of I-4, spreading into the Carolinas Saturday into Sunday.