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Tropical cyclone possible in Gulf of Mexico this weekend, National Hurricane Center says

Forecasting 2018 hurricane season

There's a 90 percent chance a subtropical or tropical cyclone will form in the central or eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend, the National Hurricane Center said. The main threat for Florida is heavy rainfall, tornadoes and rip currents, the National Hurricane Center said.

The National Hurricane Center reports that the tropical disturbance over the Yucatan Peninsula is gradually becoming better defined and now has a higher chance of development, CBS Miami reports. The report came a day after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 2018 hurricane season forecast release.

Whether or not the disturbance develops into something more, South Florida will likely see a lot of rain and wind over the next few days. This broad surface low-pressure system is battling some high wind shear and interacting with land, most of the convection associated with this system is to the east of the center.

As this disturbance lifts to the north into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, and environmental conditions become more favorable for development, there is a 90 percent chance this system could develop into a tropical or sub-tropical depression sometime this weekend in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

The European model has forecast rainfall totals ranging from 2 to 4 inches through Monday. The GFS model is forecasting rainfall totals ranging from 4 to 8 inches through Monday. The track will determine how much rain we will see.

Even if the center tracks to our west, we will be on the east side, or the dirty side, of the system and heavy downpours and flooding will be possible. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday released its forecast for the 2018 hurricane season, predicting 10 to 16 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes. One to four hurricanes could be "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

If that forecast holds, it would make for a near-normal or above-normal season. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. Last year, NOAA predicted that 2017 would be an above-average season, and it certainly was with 17 named storms, including 10 hurricanes. Three of them became major hurricanes that battered Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and many Caribbean islands.

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