Tracking the Tropics: Sally expected to strengthen to a hurricane Monday

Tracking the Tropics

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The National Weather Service has issued hurricane and storm surge warnings for parts of the northern Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Sally strengthens off the west coast of Florida.

The tropics remain extremely active Sunday morning with Tropical Storm Sally, Hurricane Paulette, Tropical Depression Rene and Tropical Depression 20 all churning along with two other disturbances and another tropical wave expected to emerge off the coast of Africa in the coming days.

Tropical Storm Sally

Tropical Storm Sally strengthened again Sunday evening and now has maximum sustained wind speeds of 60 mph. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is forecasted to slow down and become a hurricane on Monday. Life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall is expected along portions of the northern Gulf coast starting Monday.

As of 11 p.m., Sally is about 140 miles south-southwest of Panama City, Florida, and moving northwest at about 8 mph. The tropical storm is forecast to continue moving in that direction until it slows down and makes a turn toward the north-northwest on Tuesday. The NHC says Sally will move over the Gulf of Mexico Sunday and Monday before approaching the north-central Gulf Coast late Monday or Tuesday.

Storm Surge Warning in effect for:

  • Port Fourchon, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida Border
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and Lake Borgne
  • Mobile Bay

Hurricane Warning in effect for:

  • Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama Border
  • Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New Orleans

Hurricane Watch in effect for:

  • Mississippi/Alabama Border to the Alabama/Florida Border

Tropical Storm Warning in effect for:

  • Mississippi/Alabama Border to Indian Pass Florida
  • Intracoastal City, Louisiana to west of Morgan City

Tropical Storm Watch in effect for:

  • Indian Pass to Ochlockonee River, Florida

Hurricane Paulette

Paulette reached hurricane strength on Saturday night as it moved toward Bermuda. As of 11 p.m. Sunday, Paulette is a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

The storm is about 80 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving northwest at about 13 mph. The eye and eyewall of Paulette is nearing Bermuda. Hurricane conditions expected across Bermuda within the next few hours.

According to the latest NHC forecast, a hurricane warning is still in effect for Bermuda.

Tropical Depression Rene

As of 11 p.m. Sunday, Rene remains a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph. It is forecast to become a remnant low on Monday.

Rene is currently 1,130 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

Rene is still producing a few thunderstorms here and there. There are no current coastal watches or warnings currently in effect.

Tropical Depression 20

Tropical Depression 20 is about 1,500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles as of 11 p.m. Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The system is expected to continue its current movement toward the west-northwest for the next few days.

As of Sunday evening, Tropical Depression 20 has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.

The tropical depression is expected to strengthen, potentially becoming a powerful hurricane over the central Atlantic by the latter part of the week.

There are no current coastal watches or warnings currently in effect.

Other areas to watch

In addition to the tropical depressions, tropical storm and hurricane, the NHC is also monitoring three other areas in the Atlantic basin for potential development.

The first is a trough over the west-central Gulf of Mexico that’s producing some shower activity as of Sunday morning. The NHC says slow development of the system is possible but strong upper-level winds associated with Sally will likely limit the chance of formation. The disturbance is expected to move southwestward and then southward over the west-central and southwestern Gulf over the next few days.

The second area being monitored is an area of showers and thunderstorms near the Cabo Verde Islands that the NHC says is associated with a broad area of low pressure. The latest forecast says environmental conditions do support some additional development and a tropical depression could form in the coming days as the system moves west-northwest. Upper-level winds are expected to become less conducive for development by mid-week. The NHC has given the disturbance a medium 60 percent chance of formation through the next 48 hours and a high 70 percent chance of formation over the next five days.

The third area being watched is a tropical wave that’s forecast to emerge off the west coast of Africa this week. The NHC says gradual development of the system is possible as it moves over the Atlantic. It has been given a low, near zero percent chance of formation in the next 48 hours and a low 20 percent chance of formation in the next five days.


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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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