A tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico on a path toward Florida’s Gulf Coast has a slight chance of becoming a tropical storm this week.
Tampa Bay need not worry much, however, according to John McMichael of the National Weather Service’s Ruskin office. That’s because conditions aren’t favorable for the system to rapidly strengthen, nor is it expected to pass over Tampa Bay directly.
The system isn’t expected to be a dangerous one, but it could be an inconvenient one for NFL fans.
The disturbance brings a rain chance of 50 percent to the region Thursday, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL season opener, according to Spectrum Bay News 9. But some forecasters say the worst of the rain should pass through before the festivities start at 8 p.m.
The system will reach Florida’s coast just north of Tampa Bay earlier Thursday, then move across the state and into the Atlantic Ocean by Friday, the National Hurricane Center projects. Once in the open ocean, the storm has a higher chance of becoming a named storm as it moves away from land.
The system was given a 40 percent chance of formation in the next five days at 2 p.m. Tuesday by the hurricane center.
McMichael says the biggest threat to our region will be locally heavy rainfall, especially in Citrus and Hernando counties. He expects one or two inches of rain could fall there as a result of the system. Unlike larger storms that make landfall in Florida, McMichael does not believe tornadoes will be a threat this week.
The disturbance remained a trough associated with disorganized showers and thunderstorms as of 2 p.m. Tuesday. It is expected to be met with resistance from “unfavorable” upper-level winds that likely keep the storm from becoming Tropical Storm Mindy while in the Gulf.
Elsewhere in the tropics, Hurricane Larry continued to move east across the open Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday as a Category 3 storm. It’s not expected to impact the United States, however, beyond increased rip currents later this week as the system turns to the north.
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