The first week of summer will likely bring the season’s first tropical system to affect South Florida directly, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said today.
As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the low-pressure system — now moving northward over the Gulf of Mexico and pulling rain and wind toward the region — has a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical system by Saturday.
“It looks like it has the makings of becoming our next tropical depression,” said Stacy Stewart, a senior hurricane specialist at the center.
The storm is moving north at about 5 mph, with winds blowing between 25 and 30 mph over the northern area of the gulf. The storm would need to have winds blowing between 30 and 35 mph to become a tropical depression.
If it were to become a tropical storm with winds of at least 40 mph — something that is several days off, if it happens at all — it would be named Debby. Upper-level winds appear to be favorable for a tropical storm to develop as the low moves slowly to the north, Stewart said.
Regardless of the system’s track or intensity, South Florida can expect heavy rains, thunderstorms and possibly localized flooding through the weekend. The system will also affect western Cuba and the central Bahamas.
There’s a 30 percent chance of rain for the rest this evening. Tonight’s low temperature will be about 75 degrees, down about 10 degrees from this afternoon’s high, with an east wind blowing between 3 and 11 mph.
Meteorologists put the chances of rain at 60 percent chance Friday and 70 percent Saturday. Sunday’s chance of rain goes back down to 60 percent.
“A generally wet pattern should continue across the area through the weekend and into midweek next week,” said the discussion of conditions that the weather service posted online this morning.
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