Hurricane season officially began for the Atlantic Ocean basin on June 1, and AccuWeather forecasters are already tracking an organized tropical system in the basin. Tropical Depression Two formed on Thursday afternoon in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and continued to churn over open waters on Friday.
As of 10 a.m. CDT Friday, Tropical Depression Two was located about 270 miles west of Fort Myers Beach, Florida, with sustained winds of 35 mph. The depression was moving to the south at 5 mph.
Through the weekend, the depression is forecast to continue its southward track and eventually approach western Cuba. Along the way, rain and winds from the storm will lead to rough seas along and expanding outward from the depression’s track.
AccuWeather forecasters say that while the storm will remain over open, warm water, the depression will have to fight an uphill battle to have a shot at becoming the first tropical storm of the 2023 Atlantic season.
“Wind shear is forecast to keep Tropical Depression Two from gaining additional strength as the week comes to a close and will likely contribute to its downfall over the weekend,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde.
In terms of direct impacts on the United States, AccuWeather forecasters say the storm’s overall reach will be minimal.
Tropical Depression Two has remained just far enough west of Florida to produce only a glancing blow, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.
“Copious amounts of tropical moisture in place across the state, in part due to Tropical Depression Two, will help fuel and enhance some locally heavy downpours within showers and thunderstorms, primarily across South Florida,” Pydynowski said.
For anyone headed to the beach this weekend, there can be some rough surf and the potential for rip currents along the Florida Panhandle and portions of the west coast of the peninsula.
By the end of the weekend, the storm will begin to affect portions of Cuba.
“The main impacts will be in the form of heavier rain and thunderstorms as well as higher surf along the western side of the island,” said Rinde. “Some localized flooding will be possible with heavier bands of rain crossing the area.”
During this timeframe, strong wind shear in the vicinity of the Caribbean Sea is likely to cause the storm to deteriorate rapidly and ultimately dissipate.
Even after the circulation from the depression is gone, rain and lingering tropical moisture will continue to bring periods of heavy rain to a swath of Cuba into early next week.
Beyond Tropical Depression Two, AccuWeather forecasters are not expecting a flurry of tropical development in the short term.
“We continue to monitor a few tropical waves across the Atlantic basin, although all of these waves remain poorly organized and do not show signs of tropical development,” explained Pydynowski.
The first named storm of the 2023 Atlantic season will be known as Arlene. Tropical Depression Two isn’t the first organized tropical cyclone forecasters have tracked in the basin this year.
Earlier in May, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) revealed that a subtropical storm developed off the northeastern coast of the United States back in January. The NHC made that discovery after forecasters conducted a reassessment of past weather patterns.
It’s because of that subtropical system in January that the NHC labeled this current storm as Tropical Depression Two.
Produced in association with AccuWeather
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