NHC issues tropical storm watch for Florida ahead of TS Alex
A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Florida Gulf Coast, Lake Okeechobee and the East Coast south of the Volusia/Brevard county line as the region prepares to see the first tropical storm of this season beginning. from Saturday morning, according to the latest projections from the National Hurricane Center.
The NHC released its first official track forecast at 5 p.m. Thursday for a system entering the Gulf of Mexico from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The latest track prediction indicates the system will enter the Gulf of Mexico from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula by Friday and move across the southern and central portions of the Florida Peninsula on Saturday. The storm is currently located just off the Yucatan Peninsula moving northeast at 5 mph with sustained winds of 35 mph and higher gusts and an estimated minimum central pressure of 1003 mb.
The storm, which is the remnant of Hurricane Agatha from the Pacific Ocean, is expected to become a tropical depression on Friday, turning to the northeast and accelerating Friday evening and Saturday. If that happens, Tropical Storm Alex will be the first named system of the Atlantic season.
The NHC predicts tropical-force winds will begin in the Orlando area beginning Saturday morning around 8 a.m., with the storm moving out of the area Sunday evening.
Tropical storm watches extend inland and include Osceola, Polk and Brevard counties in central Florida.
The current tropical storm watch is in effect for:
- Florida’s west coast south of the middle of Longboat Key
- Florida’s east coast south of the Volusia/Brevard county line
- Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas
- Lake Okeechobee
- florida bay
- Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, Havana, Artemisa, Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth.
A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible somewhere within the watch area within 48 hours.
On Monday, Agatha – the first storm of the Pacific hurricane season, which began May 15 – formed into a Category 2 hurricane and made landfall in Puerto Angel, Mexico. The storm dissipated over the rugged terrain of Mexico on Tuesday, but not before leaving at least 11 people dead and 33 others missing, according to the governor of the southern state of Oaxaca.
Agatha made history as the most powerful hurricane on record in May during the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, ripping roofs off and washing away roads before fading into southern Mexico on Tuesday.
Oaxaca State Governor Alejandro Murat told MVS Noticias on Tuesday that eight people were missing in mudslides or flooding.
Meanwhile, the surface trough 200 miles northeast of the central Bahamas has diminished, the NHC said in its 8 a.m. update.
Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its forecast for the hurricane season, indicating a 65% chance of an above-average 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, beginning June 1 and continuing through November 30. .
Orlando Sentinel staff writers Lisa Maria Garza, Richard Tribou and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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