TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - As Florida braces for heavy rains and potential flooding from a system churning Thursday over the southeastern Yucatan Peninsula, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a slightly above-average hurricane season is on the horizon.
The National Weather Service forecasts the brewing storm has an 80 percent chance to form into a subtropical or tropical depression by late Saturday while over the warm waters of the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
If the storm becomes a rotating system with 39 mile per hour winds, it would take on the name Alberto and be the first of the 10 to 16 named storms predicted by NOAA this year.
Of those storms, five to nine are predicted to reach hurricane status, including one to four major hurricanes.
National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Wool says the storm projections, and the current system in the Gulf of Mexico, are good reminders for people to start getting prepared.
“We use this as an opportunity to get folks attention at the beginning of hurricane season, so that we can deliver the main message of ‘be prepared’" said Wool. "Really, it doesn’t matter how many systems develop. What matters is if one comes to where you live.”
An average hurricane season, which runs from June through November, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
The busy 2017 season saw 17 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes, with six reaching the major storm status.