Forecasters Watching Florida for Potential Gulf Storm

As storms Odile and Edouard take tracks farther out to sea, the chances for a low-pressure system now over Florida to develop into a tropical system this weekend have dropped slightly.

The low, expected to bring flooding rains across southern Florida, will encounter upper-level winds as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico overnight that hurt its chances of becoming a tropical depression or storm, Lixion Avila, a senior hurricane specialist at the center, wrote in a briefing.

“Nevertheless, this weather system will continue to be closely monitored, and an Air Force plane will check the low Saturday, if necessary,” Avila wrote in advisory at 2 p.m. New York time.

The Gulf accounts for about 4 percent of U.S. natural gas output, 17 percent of oil production and 51 percent of refining capacity, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. Florida is the largest producer of oranges behind Brazil.

The system has a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical system during the next five days, down from 40 percent earlier, according to the hurricane center.

Development Potential

The low’s potential as a tropical system will depend on if those winds hindering its development persist or fade, said Dan Kottlowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

It probably won’t develop if the winds follow it “like a dog all the way to the Texas coast,” said Dan Kottlowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

Regardless of its tropical future, it will bring heavy rain bringing localized flooding may occur across southern Florida through the rest of today, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. Tornadoes, water spouts and wind gusts up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) per hour may also happen.

Thunderstorms are also possible tomorrow in many areas, the weather service said.

Farther to the east in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Edouard is forecast to remain far out to sea, the hurricane center said in an advisory at 11 a.m. New York time. It was currently 1,315 miles east of the Leeward Islands with sustained winds of 45 mph.

Tropical Wave

There is also a tropical wave south of the Cape Verde Island that has a 20 percent chance of becoming a storm in the next five days, the center said.

In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Odile strengthened slightly as it moves west at about 2 mph, the center said. It was 250 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

A tropical storm watch is in effect from Manzanillo to Cabo Corrientes, Mexico. Odile, which may become a hurricane later today, is forecast to stay well off the Mexico’s coast through this weekend, the center said.

A second system, tropical depression 16, is also being watched in the Pacific. It is 785 miles from the southern tip of Baja California and poses no threat to land.

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