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Forecasters eye 2 potential systems as a wet 4th of July appears likely

Early forecasts predict a July 4 weekend so hot and wet it will pose a challenge for celebrations.
Two potential tropical systems are brewing in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Two potential tropical systems are brewing in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center. [ National Hurricane Center ]
Published Jun. 29
Updated Jun. 29

As quickly as it arrived, Tropical Storm Danny blew itself apart early Tuesday after making landfall on South Carolina’s coastline, the National Hurricane Center said. Now the focus is turning to two potential tropical cyclones in the central Atlantic Ocean.

Neither of the tropical systems poses an imminent threat to Florida but could in the future if they continue to develop on a westerly path toward the Caribbean Sea, according to the hurricane center’s 2 p.m. Tuesday update.

Tropical systems aside, forecasters expect tropical weather patterns will make the Fourth of July weekend a hot and wet one.

Temperatures will once again reach the low 90′s by Tuesday afternoon, with heat index values as high as 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Ruskin. Summer storms will likely follow the usual pattern this week, with dry mornings giving way to sudden, heavy downpours in the afternoon and early evening that typically clear out by sunset, dropping temperatures to the mid-70s.

Forecasters predict an 80 percent chance of rain Wednesday — slightly higher than the 70 percent chance Thursday and Friday.

A high-pressure ridge has caused a southeasterly flow to stall over the Tampa Bay region this week but that pattern could shift to the southwest Friday, reducing the chance of rain to around 50 percent over the holiday weekend.

Still, forecasters warn that humid conditions and temperatures in the mid-90s could fuel lightning storms that would eclipse the holiday fireworks.

Though there isn’t an official timetable on the two potential tropical systems in the Atlantic, both have been given a low chance of formation ahead of Independence Day.

Those tropical waves are still forming and will likely head west towards the Caribbean, forecasters said. The latest update from the National Hurricane Center said it’s still too early to tell if either storm could make its way to the Gulf of Mexico and Florida’s shoreline.

According to the Hurricane Center’s 2 p.m. advisory, the first tropical wave was spotted about 650 miles east of the Lesser Antilles early Tuesday, touching off showers and thunderstorms as it continued west-northwest at about 20 mph.

At that speed, that wave could reach the Lesser Antilles by Wednesday evening, giving it enough time to slowly develop into an organized tropical storm system, forecasters said. The hurricane center put its chances of formation in the next 48 hours at 30 percent, and chance of formation in the next five days at 40 percent.

On its current track, the system is headed towards Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, forecasters said.

Forecasters were also tracking a tropical wave about 900 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands on Tuesday afternoon. The gave this system a 10 percent chance of reaching tropical depression status in the next two days and a 20 percent chance of formation in the next five days.

Tropical Storm Danny, the fourth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, quickly weakened into a tropical depression before disintegrating as it made its way inland over Georgia on Tuesday.

Danny formed off South Carolina’s coast Monday afternoon, strengthened into a tropical storm in a matter of hours, and then quickly lost steam by about 11 p.m., forecasters said.

The storm came to shore just before 8 p.m. on Pritchards Island, just north of Hilton Head, S.C. By 4 a.m. Tuesday, remnants of Danny were tracked about 95 miles east-southeast of Atlanta and its maximum sustained winds had dropped to about 25 mph. Still, the storm is continuing to drift west-northwest across at around 17 mph, and could bring strong wind gusts and 1 to 3 inches of rain to parts of northern Georgia and Alabama over the next day or so, forecasters said.

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