Chance of storm development in Gulf now 80 percent

Kimberly Miller | GateHouse Media Florida

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting an 80 percent chance that a tropical system will form in the northern Gulf of Mexico over the next five days, possibly becoming the second named storm of the 2019 hurricane season.

The prediction is unusual because the area of concern is an upper level trough of low pressure located over Georgia that is expected to move into the Gulf and form up into something tropical. Typically, tropical systems form over water and move toward land.

If a tropical storm develops, it would be named Barry.

NHC senior hurricane specialist Eric Blake said Sunday that while this type of system happens “every so often” it’s “not historically a particularly predictable genesis mechanism.”

Regardless of development, the disturbance will likely mean a soggy week for the Panhandle and parts of Florida’s Peninsula.

The National Weather Service in Tampa is forecasting a stormy week, with scattered showers and thunderstorms expected Wednesday through Friday.

“Heaviest precipitation is expected to be along and near the coast,” Tampa meteorologists from the NWS wrote in a morning forecast. “However there remains considerable uncertainty on eventual evolution of this system.”