Hurricane

Hurricane forecasters watching two systems; SoFla rains to continue through weekend

National Hurricane Center forecasters are keeping an eye on two systems roiling in the central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that have the potential to become tropical cyclones.

On Friday afternoon, forecasters said a system percolating in the Gulf of Mexico for the past week has a 60 percent chance of forming in five days as it moves across the Yucatán Peninsula. A faraway Atlantic storm several hundred miles from the Cabo Verde Islands is also becoming better organized. They upped the odds of it becoming a tropical depression or storm to 30 percent over the next two days and 50 percent over five days.

It’s unlikely the Gulf system will pose any threat to Florida as it moves northwestward. But even if it doesn’t form, forecasters say all the moisture swirling in the region will likely produce heavy rain that could reach the state.

The Atlantic storm was moving westward at a quick clip of 15 to 20 mph and could develop more slowly as it tracks west.

The storms form as South Florida continues to be battered by heavy rainstorms. The start of June delivered a month’s worth of rain in a single week. On Friday, Miami weather service forecasters warned that southeast Florida could get hit with torrential rain and thunderstorms by midday.

The stormy pattern is expected to continue through Father’s Day weekend, with rain chances Saturday and Sunday running from 60 to 70 percent.

This hurricane season, which started June 1, is expected to be just as busy as last season, thanks to warm Atlantic waters and the absence of an El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific. In their preseason forecast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted the Atlantic could churn up 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and between two and four major storms with winds topping 111 mph.

2017 season outlook

The 2016 season generated 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes. In September, Hermine became the first hurricane to strike Florida in more than a decade. Later in the month, Matthew, a fierce Cat 5, carved a path of destruction across the Caribbean before rolling up Florida’s east coast.

This year also got an early start, with Tropical Storm Arlene popping up in the Central Atlantic in mid April, only the second time on record a storm has appeared in April.

Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich

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