Gulf of Mexico Could See First Tropical Event of 2019 This Week

July 8, 2019, 3:02 PM UTC

We are over a month into the 2019 hurricane season and it’s been quiet so far, but things seem likely to change by the end of the week.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami say there is an 80% chance a cyclone will form in the Gulf of Mexico later this week. It’s uncertain, at this point, how strong the storm will become.

A low pressure system, currently located over Georgia, is expected to move southward to the Gulf and become a tropical depression, at least. It’s expected to bring heavy rains to the Florida Panhandle and southern Louisiana. Should it become a named storm, it will be called “Barry.” (“Andrea,” a short lived subtropical storm popped up in late May.)

That’s unwelcome news for Florida residents who are still recovering from Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that hit last October, causing over $25 billion in damages.

So far, the 2019 hurricane season has been a slow one, something long-term forecasters predicted. Forecasters at Colorado State University said in April they anticipated the Atlantic would have “slightly below normal activity.”

Experts say they expect to see 13 named storms this year, with only two major hurricanes. There’s a 48% chance a major storm, either a Category 3, 4 or 5, will hit the east coast (though that’s less than the 52% average of the last century). Last year, there were 15 named storms, including two major hurricanes.

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