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Tropical Depression 17 forms in Gulf of Mexico; new disturbance emerges in mid-Atlantic

Atlantic hurricane season

Tropical Depression 17 has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and could strengthen into a tropical storm this afternoon as it moves toward the northern Gulf coast, forecasters from the National Hurricane Center say.

Maximum sustained winds have been measured at near 35 mph, with higher gusts, but the system is still expected to merge with a cold front and weaken before its center reaches the coast.

If Tropical Depression 17 reaches tropical storm status (sustained winds over 39 mph) it would take the name Olga.

“A motion toward the north-northeast at a faster forward speed is expected this afternoon through Sunday,” the hurricane center said in an advisory at 11 a.m. (EDT) Friday. “On the forecast track, the center of the cyclone should move across the northwestern Gulf of Mexico this afternoon and then move over the northern Gulf coast tonight or Saturday morning.

“The cyclone is then expected to merge with a cold front and become a post-tropical low with gale-force winds tonight before the center reaches the Gulf coast. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the depression this afternoon.”

The system is forecast to bring rain and wind to areas of the Gulf coast, with flash flooding possible. Tornadoes are possible through tonight across southeast portions of Louisiana and Mississippi into southwest Alabama, the hurricane center says.

At this point, there are no predicted effects in South Florida.

Meanwhile, another system has emerged on the radar — closer to Portugal than the tropics.

That system is a “non-tropical low” a few hundred miles southwest of the Azores that is producing tropical-storm-force winds near the center, the hurricane center said.

“The thunderstorm activity is becoming better organized and if this trend continues a tropical or subtropical cyclone could form later today,” the advisory read. Forecasters give a 50 percent chance of development into a tropical cyclone as it moves toward the east-northeast.

Tropical cyclones — systems rotating around a center of low pressure — are classified by their wind speed ranging from tropical depression to tropical storm to hurricane.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

 

This article was originally published on dailypress