Official forecast track for TD Four. (Credit: NHC)
NEW TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS: The season’s fourth tropical depression formed in the Atlantic Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Center said. The agency initiated advisories at 11 p.m. EDT, but said the system was not expected to become Tropical Storm Don as it moves toward an area of dry air.
Maximum sustained winds were at 30 mph. “Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours,” the NHC said. TD Four was located at 12.8N 38.4W and was moving west-northwest at 14 mph.
No coastal watches or warnings were posted.
The NHC forecast shows slight strengthening to 35 mph — short of tropical storm strength at 39 mph — followed by dissipation into a remnant low by the weekend.
By Monday, the remnants of TD Four are forecast to be at 24.5N 68W, or about 770 miles east of Miami.
ORIGINAL POST: Colorado State University upped its forecast for the 2017 hurricane season Wednesday, calling for a total of 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The total includes the three named storms that have already occurred.
“We now anticipate an above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season,” hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach said in the report. “The odds of a significant El Niño in 2017 have continued to diminish, and most of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic remains anomalously warm.
“The lack of El Niño conditions typically leads to a lower shear environment in the tropical Atlantic, while a warmer than-normal tropical Atlantic provides more fuel for developing tropical cyclones.”
In April, CSU called for 11 named storms, then increased the prediction on June 1 to 14 storms. Predicted hurricanes increased from four to six to eight, and majors from two to three.
Forecast model tracks for Tropical Depression Four. (Credit: SFWMD)
JULY RAINS ON THE WAY? Forecasters are monitoring a potential “surge of tropical moisture” this weekend for parts of the Florida peninsula — and on the lookout for heavy rains next week as well.
“While things are still wide open in the extended forecast period, it would be wise to keep an eye on the forecast evolution to see if tropical moisture nears the region enough to introduce a heavy rain threat,” National Weather Service forecasters said in their Wednesday analysis from Miami.
June rains drove all drought and “Abnormally Dry” conditions — as defined by the U.S. Drought Monitor — out of Florida. But now many areas up and down the East Coast haven’t had any significant rains in 14 days.
Miami and West Palm Beach have already fallen almost an inch behind normal precipitation levels for the first four days of July, and only Naples and other West Coast communities have been enjoying afternoon showers. Naples has measured 1.3 inches of rain over the first few days of the month.
In Central Florida, Orlando and Daytona Beach have been getting cooling afternoon showers, but Melbourne and points south have been skunked. On the West Coast, Sarasota and Fort Myers opened the month with decent rainfall, but most of the precipitation has missed Tampa.
The Keys have had a dry start to July, although Marathon squeezed out a quarter of an inch of rain on Tuesday.
While forecasters in Miami are talking about the possibility of a pattern change, the National Weather Service in Melbourne isn’t so sure. Precipitation could be confined mostly to the interior next week, they said.
Forecasters in Key West see rain moving in over the weekend as dry air from the Bahamas exits to the west, but then a return to drier conditions.
NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center isn’t terribly enthusiastic about Florida precipitation over the next seven days, its graphical forecast showing around 2 inches falling on the West Coast from Tampa down to around Everglades City.
Next week, attention turns to what is now Invest 94L in the Atlantic as it pushes west-northwest — probably north of the islands. Forecast models are keeping it weak, but the National Hurricane Center continues to give it 60 percent chance of becoming at least a tropical depression by Friday.