Tropical rains with gusty winds are likely to impact parts of Florida late in the week
And the 2022 Hurricane Season is underway!
Three ingredients are coming together to create the large area of disturbed weather in the western Caribbean and extreme southern Gulf of Mexico. The remnants of former Pacific Hurricane Agatha are in the mix, but the dominant feature appears to be a strong cluster of thunderstorms just east of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Caribbean.
Enhancing the disturbance is a kink in the upper-level wind flow - a branch of the jet stream - that has moved over the western Gulf. This dip in the upper wind flow is providing energy to the disturbed weather and will push it along toward Florida over the next few days.
The consensus of the computer forecast models is that the disturbance will consolidate to one degree or the other and bring heavy rain and gusty winds to all or part of the Florida Peninsula. On the current schedule, the rain arrives late Thursday, effects peak late Friday into Saturday, and the weather significantly improves late Saturday into Sunday.
Because this sharp dip in the upper-level wind flow is pressing on the disturbance from the west, the system is expected to be lopsided, developing into something like a comma shape with its heaviest rain and gustiest winds on the front or east side of the storm.
The National Hurricane Center is giving the system a high chance of developing into at least a tropical depression as it approaches Florida over the next few days. The difference between a tropical depression and the existing massive disturbance full of tropical moisture is that a depression has an organized circulation, not that the weather is necessarily worse.
If the organized system were found to contain 40 mph winds or higher, it would become Tropical Storm Alex. That can’t be ruled out, but a strong storm is not anticipated due to the strong upper winds and the dry air they will push into the Gulf.
The heavy rain and gusty winds are likely to affect South Florida and might encompass Central Florida as well. Until we see how and where a center of circulation consolidates, it’s impossible to forecast its final track. People in Central and South Florida should be prepared for disruptive weather Friday and Saturday.
The National Hurricane Center is also making note of a disorganized disturbance off the Southeast coast. It’s nothing to be concerned about. It will move out to sea whatever form it takes.