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Tropical Storm Sally Forms In The Gulf Of Mexico

Tropical Storm Sally formed over the Eastern Gulf of Mexico near Florida on Saturday, and it’s expected to continue to bring heavy rain and flooding to central and south Florida this weekend.

It is now the earliest named S-storm to form in the Atlantic in recorded history.

It’s expected to strengthen into a hurricane early next week, threatening parts of the Northern Gulf of Mexico coastline.

What You Need To Know

  • Sally formed over the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Saturday
  • It’s expected to track west over the Gulf of Mexico
  • Sally could strengthen into a hurricane next week 
  • Three other Atlantic disturbances are being monitored

Heavy rain will be the storm’s primary threat to the Sunshine State, where flood watches are in place for central and southern parts of the state this weekend. 

“The tropical wave we’ve been monitoring will continue moving west this weekend,” says Spectrum News Meteorologist Brian McClure. “It will not change our forecast as we already planned for this to bring us more wet weather. However, this will change the boating forecast in the Gulf of Mexico with higher winds and rougher seas expect Saturday through Monday.”

Tropical storm watches are in place for the panhandle of Florida, stretching from Miramar Beach to St. James Island.  

The cyclone is now forecast to strengthen into a hurricane and could reach Category 1 status right before landfall near Mississippi and Louisiana.

Spaghetti computer forecast models are in generally strong agreement that the storm will continue to track west over south Florida this weekend before turning north towards the coastal Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. 

Interests along the northern Gulf of Mexico coastline should keep an especially close eye on the trajectory of this system, with a possible landfall next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Paulette Strengthening

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Paulette is also churning through the central Atlantic. Its track to the northwest will continue this week before taking a slight north turn by the beginning of next week.

Paulette initially formed as Tropical Depression Seventeen late Sunday, about halfway between the Lesser Antilles and Cabo Verde Islands. It became a tropical storm Monday morning.

Paulette has strengthened since yesterday and could potentially reach hurricane status today as it moves into a more suitable environment, intensifying as it nears Bermuda.

It is expected to reach Category 2 status near the island. This will bring strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain to Bermuda by Sunday night.

Hurricane warnings are already in place for Bermuda.

The southeastern U.S., Leeward Islands, Greater Antilles, and Bahamas could see life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Tropical Depression Rene

Farther east, Rene continues to linger in the central Atlantic and has weakened to a tropical depression.

Rene is expected to weaken more over the next few days. It’s forecast to continue moving to the northwest across open ocean, gradually turning toward the north this weekend then shifting west by next week.

Rene isn’t expected to threaten the United States or the Caribbean at this time.

Other Systems To Watch

Several other systems are being monitored in the Atlantic.

A tropical wave rolling off the west coast of Africa will likely become a tropical depression later this weekend, as it does have a high chance of developing.

A second tropical wave coming off the west coast of Africa has a medium chance of developing into a tropical cyclone.

One other system could also develop in the Gulf. Although, it does have a low chance.

Picking Up Again

The average peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is around September 10. This time of year, tropical systems can develop just about anywhere, although it’s common for them to form where these two are. September also has a history of memorable hurricanes.

Before Monday, the earliest P-storm on record was Philippe, which was named on September 17, 2005. The earliest R-storm was Rita on September 18, 2005.

This year continues to outpace the record-setting 2005 season.

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