Odds up for tropical system off Florida coast as Alberto weakens after landfall

The National Hurricane Center increased odds Thursday that a system brewing in the Atlantic off the Florida coast could develop into the season’s next tropical depression. Meanwhile, the season’s first named storm, Tropical Storm Alberto, lost steam after moving inland while drenching Mexico and Texas.

The Atlantic system as of the NHC’s 8 a.m. tropical outlook remains a small area of low pressure located about 150 miles east of the northernmost Bahamas with disorganized shower and thunderstorm activity.

“While environmental conditions are only marginally conducive due to nearby dry air, further development of this system could lead to the development of a tropical depression while the low moves west-northwestward at 10 to 15 mph and approaches the northeastern coast of Florida or the Georgia coast early on Friday,” said NHC Warning Coordination Meteorologist Robbie Berg.

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is slated to fly out to the system in the afternoon.

The NHC gives it a 40% chance of development in the next two to seven days.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory that runs into Friday with breaking waves of 5 to 7 feet in the surf zone with a high rip current risk along coastal Central and Northeast Florida beaches.

“Dangerous swimming and surfing conditions and localized beach erosion. Rip currents can sweep even the best swimmers away from shore into deeper water,” warned the NWS.

Erosion will be greatest at high tide around 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., the NWS stated. Volusia County beaches are still recovering from major washout that occurred during both Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole in 2022.

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The NWS also has a small craft advisory in place from Jupiter Inlet north to the Altamaha Sound, Georgia that runs through late Friday for northeast Florida and through Friday morning for Central Florida.

Waves of 7 to 10 feet are expected offshore with 25-30 mph winds and gusts up to 35 mph farther north along Florida’s coast.

Rain chances are highest in Brevard and Volusia counties in Central Florida as the low approaches with some thunderstorm activity, the NWS stated.

Tropical Storm Alberto continues to churn tonight, bringing flooding rains to parts of Mexico and southern Texas. pic.twitter.com/licLdd97ns

— CIRA (@CIRA_CSU) June 20, 2024

As far as Tropical Storm Alberto goes, the system gained some wind speed as it dumped rainfall over Mexico and Texas but fell back in strength to become Tropical Depression Alberto by late morning.

In its 11 a.m. advisory, the center of Alberto was located inland about 95 miles west of Tampico, Mexico and 280 miles south-southwest of Brownsville, Texas with sustained winds of 35 mph moving west at 18 mph. It had earlier Thursday maintained winds of 45 mph when it was a tropical storm.

All tropical storm warnings have ceased and the system is expected to diminish further throughout Thursday.

Rainfall is still an issue in Mexico with 5 to 10 inches expected with some areas in higher terrain of inland Mexico getting up to 20 inches. Rain in Texas, though, dropped off quickly Thursday morning with only another 1 inch expected in some southern parts of the state.

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The NHC is also tracking a broad area of low pressure that is forecast to form over southeastern Mexico and northern Central America on Friday.

“Environmental conditions appear conducive for gradual development after this system moves over the Bay of Campeche on Saturday, and a tropicaldepression could form over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this weekend while it moves slowly west-northwestward or northwestward,” forecasters said.

The NHC gives it a 20% chance of formation over the next two days and 50% in the next seven.

After Alberto, the next named system for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season would be Beryl.

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