Wednesday Night Tropics Update
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It’s officially that time of year where those in the Southeastern United States turn their eyes to the tropics. Hurricane Season began today and runs through November 30th. Naturally, there’s already some activity to talk about as we head into the first weekend of June.
Invest 91L, the first real area of interest in the 2022 season, is currently materializing in the Caribbean sea just east of the Yucatan Peninsula. This system is the latest version of a broad area of low pressure which was formerly known as Hurricane Agatha in the Eastern Pacific. Agatha made landfall earlier this week as a strong category 2 storm (sustained winds: 105 mph) before rapidly falling apart over the mountainous southern Mexican Terrain.
The cluster of thunderstorms now looks to have a second chance of life, with the National Hurricane Center having forecasted an 80% chance for Invest 91L to intensify into a tropical depression or greater in the next 2 days.
Although early in the season, ocean waters especially in this region are already plenty warm enough for tropical storm development. Likewise, there’s plenty of water vapor in the atmosphere at the moment, which is another factor necessary for the intensification of this storm. Wind shear - defined as the change in wind speed and/or direction as you move up through the atmosphere - is a limiting factor, though. As we so often see in these early-season storms, it appears wind shear will fight against the development of this system, resulting in a lopsided system that will likely struggle to intensify beyond a tropical depression.
Current track forecasts have the system taking aim at the southern portion of the Florida Peninsula, or potentially a little further south. The main threat invest 91L poses will be heavy rainfall and potential flooding. Current precipitation forecasts see south Florida receiving 5″-7″ through the end of the weekend. Areas to the north around Interstate 4 could see anywhere from 1″-3″ depending on the eventual track of the storm.
Other impacts include the chance for some stronger wind gusts and severe weather as the storm quickly moves over the Florida peninsula.
Stay with WJHG for updates on this system and all of hurricane season in 2022.
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