The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season appears to be kicking into high gear at its traditional peak time on the calendar, with the fourth named system forming and areas of disturbed weather east of Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Depression 5 to Tropical Storm Dorian on Saturday, but any threat to the United States is not expected until Labor Day week.
At 5 p.m., Dorian was centered over the tropical Atlantic Ocean about 725 miles east-southeast of Barbados, moving toward the west near 12 mph with maximum sustained near 40 mph.
Gradual strengthening during the next few days is forecast, and Dorian could be near hurricane strength when it approaches the central Lesser Antilles on Tuesday.
Closer to home, a broad and elongated area of low pressure extends from the southern Florida peninsula northeastward into the Atlantic.
The National Hurricane Center said it’s producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms, primarily over the Atlantic north of the Bahamas and east of the central Florida peninsula.
Environmental conditions appear conducive for gradual development during the next few days, and a tropical or subtropical depression is likely to form early next week while the system moves northeastward over the Atlantic offshore of the southeastern United States coast.
If the current forecast holds, the system could bring some increased surf and rip currents to the south-facing beaches of North Carolina around the middle-to-end of next week.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system on Sunday, if necessary.
Also this afternoon, surface observations along with satellite imagery and radar data, indicate that a low pressure area is located near the upper Texas and southwestern Louisiana coasts.
The associated shower and thunderstorm activity shows signs of organization, but the system is likely to move inland over eastern Texas and western Louisiana before tropical cyclone formation can occur.