It has started
The first tropical system of the hurricane season has formed.
And so it begins. The first tropical depression of the 2006 season formed this morning in the northwestern Caribbean, and folks in the eastern Gulf of Mexico are warned to monitor its progress. The depression could become Tropical Storm Alberto later today.I'm still praying for no storms here in South Florida for 2006. In the mean-time I'll bookmark the National Hurricane Center website.
For South Florida, the system's impact is likely to be rain and breezes by Sunday, forecasters said.
The large blob of stormy weather is 50 miles south-southwest of the western tip of Cuba. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph and some strengthening is forecast today. Tropical storm warnings are recommended for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and Isle of Youth.
Forecast models aim it north into the Gulf of Mexico. If so, even its fringes could bring rain to this region, said Dave Roberts, a Navy meteorologist assigned to the hurricane center.
The Florida Keys and Florida's west coast could get 4 to 8 inches of rain from Sunday into Monday.
For now, the National Weather Service in Miami calls for a 70 percent chance of rain on Sunday.
With this depression, the 2006 Atlantic season is heating up almost as early as it did last year, when the first depression formed on June 8 in the same general area of the Caribbean.
It became Tropical Storm Arlene, which swiped South Florida with squally weather and went on to pummel the Gulf Coast near the Florida-Alabama border on June 11.
A hurricane hunter aircraft is being dispatched today to gain more information about the developing system.
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