A tropical cyclone could be forming soon near the Florida Gulf coast; while the Atlantic Hurricane Season ended on November 30, it is possible to have tropical cyclones in the off-season in December.
Two key global computer forecast models, the American GFS and European ECMWF, suggest an area of low pressure will form in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico off the Florida west coast; this storm system could develop subtropical or tropical storm characteristics and briefly become a named storm over time.
Helping fuel the possibility of a tropical cyclone forming are very warm water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOAA data, temperatures in much of the Gulf of Mexico ate 1-2 degrees Celsius above normal; temperatures near the Florida coastline are even warmer at about 3 degrees Celsius above normal. These above normal water temperatures could help fuel a tropical disturbance there.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida has yet to officially comment on the disturbance. The NHC’s last Tropical Outlook product was issued at 7pm on November 30. In that last statement, the NHC wrote, “Routine issuance of the Tropical Weather Outlook will resume on May 15, 2022. During the off-season, Special Tropical Weather Outlooks will be issued as conditions warrant.” As such, it is possible the NHC may address this system in the Gulf soon.
Even if a tropical cyclone does form, it shouldn’t get too large nor strong. Computer guidance suggests wind-whipped soaking rain showers and storms over portions of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina as it moves from southwest to northeast across Florida. By Tuesday night it is well off the southeast coast; by Thursday morning, there would no longer be clouds associated with this storm over the southeast. And because the storm will move north and east rapidly, it is not expected to come up the east coast into the Mid Atlantic and New England at this time.
The last tropical storm of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season was Wanda, which tracked across the Atlantic in early November. As the 21st storm of the season, Wanda exhausted the name list scientists at the National Hurricane Center use for storm names.
Unlike in previous years where the NHC would switch over to letters of the Greek alphabet, this year they would pull from an extra list of names in alphabetical order. A decision was made earlier this year to change the naming process when the first batch of names is used up. Should a storm beyond Wanda require a name, the next storm name to be used would be Adria.