Storm With Chance to Turn Tropical May Curb Florida HeatBrian K. Sullivan
A weak low-pressure system with a one-in-five chance of becoming tropical is drifting northeast through the Gulf of Mexico and may keep temperatures lower in Florida and the South, damping energy demand, forecasters say.
Any strengthening of the storm currently off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is likely to be slow because of “marginally favorable” conditions, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Cooler weather may keep air conditioning use down, lessening the need for fuels such as natural gas to produce electricity, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
“It has a very short window to do something,” Rogers said in a telephone interview. “My main concern is that it will be a demand killer.”
The system may be bring clouds and moisture to Florida and the Southeast, Rogers said.
Wind shear, which can disrupt the structure of tropical systems, may weaken a bit by June 6, giving the system a brief chance to become Andrea, the Atlantic season’s first tropical storm, said Dan Kottlowski, a tropical weather expert for AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
As it continues to move east, it will encounter more wind shear and cooler waters, both of which will rob it of its ability to maintain the characteristics of a tropical storm, he said.
“Systems like this, even though they are really disorganized, they can produce a lot of rainfall,” Kottlowski said by telephone.
High temperatures are expected to range between 83 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (28 and 29 Celsius) in Miami this week, according to the National Weather Service. The normal high for this time of year is 89. Last year, the temperature was above 90 four times in the first seven days of June.
The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30. Forecasters are expecting more than 12 storms, the 30-year average, will form in the Atlantic this year.
The eastern Pacific season began on May 15 and has already produced two storms off the west coast of Mexico.
Today, Colorado State University restated its prediction from April that 18 named storms would form in the Atlantic, nine of which could become hurricanes. A system gets a name when its sustained winds reach 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour and it becomes a tropical storm.
Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted there would be 13 to 20 storms this year. The 30-year average is 12 and for each of the last three years there have been 19.