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2012 Hurricane Season
A tropical system in the Gulf has a good chance that it could become a named storm within the next two days. There's even a better chance that it's going to be a wet weekend in Southwest Florida.
The large low pressure system in the Gulf might bring thunderstorms and gusty winds to Southwest Florida this weekend and forecasters say it has a 70 percent chance of turning into a tropical depression in the next 48 hours. If the system were to become a tropical storm, it would be called Debby. Interestingly, there has never been a fourth named storm in June.
"There is a slight chance this feature could become a tropical depression as early as tonight. However, we feel this system will become better organized this weekend and should become Tropical Storm Debby later Saturday or on Sunday," said Dan Kottlowski, expert senior meteorologist for Accuweather.
As the system organizes this weekend, tropical moisture will stream northward into the eastern Gulf and parts of the Florida Peninsula. Torrential rains could fall from Naples and Fort Myers through Tampa and Orlando this weekend while creating rough surf and poor beach weather for many. The heavy rains could then expand northward into Jacksonville, Pensacola and Gainesville on Sunday as the storm continues to develop and drift through the Gulf.
A U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system this afternoon, if necessary, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reports.
Friday morning, the disorganized system was located near Cancun, Mexico, and the northern coast of the Yucatan peninsula. It is shifting slowly northward. Debby, once an organized tropical entity, will take a northward jog this weekend into the central Gulf of Mexico, where it will have ample opportunity to strengthen.
The waters over the Gulf of Mexico are warm enough to sustain a tropical system. Along with that, the winds in the upper parts of the atmosphere or what meteorologists call "wind shear" are relatively light.
"The combination of low shear and warm water will support strengthening of this storm into a depression then a tropical storm this weekend. If the storm can avoid shear, it will probably become a hurricane early next week," Kottlowski said.