First threat of 2021 Atlantic hurricane season? Forecasters eye developing tropical system in Gulf of Mexico.

Story Highlights

  • The system could impact the Gulf Coast by the end of next week.
  • It would be the first storm of the season to affect the U.S.
  • People who live along the Gulf Coast should continue to monitor the situation.

A tropical system may be bubbling up in the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters from the National Hurricane Center said Friday, although it will be several days before a storm develops – if it ever does.

“Subsequent slow development of this system is possible as it drifts northwestward to northward,” the hurricane center said Friday.

It could impact the Gulf Coast by the end of next week, making it the first storm of the season to affect the U.S.

As of Friday, there’s only a 20% chance of it developing into something tropical during the next five days, according to the hurricane center, and a 30% chance of development during the next seven days, according to other forecasters, CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray said.

Weather Tiger meteorologist Ryan Trauchalt said Friday that “overall, there is a slight chance that the Gulf Coast will be dealing with the threat of a rainmaking tropical storm towards the end of next week or into the weekend.”

It’s hurricane season: From Ana to Wanda, here is the list of tropical storm and hurricane names for 2021

AccuWeather said that people who live along the Gulf Coast from Mexico to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle should continue to monitor the situation. Much of the region is waterlogged from weeks of persistent, torrential rain so any additional rainfall will be unwelcome.

The next name on the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season list is Bill. Tropical Storm Ana formed in May and spun harmlessly out to sea in the Atlantic. 

Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center are watching an area in the Gulf of Mexico (yellow circle) for potential tropical development over the next five days. (Photo: National Hurricane Center)

The federal government expects another active Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, with as many as 10 hurricanes forming.

The season began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. An average season typically spawns seven hurricanes and peaks in August and September. If predictions hold true, it will be a record sixth consecutive year of above-normal activity.

Hurricane predictions: NOAA predicts another busy Atlantic hurricane season with up to 20 named storms possible

Overall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said up to 20 named storms will develop. This number includes tropical storms, which contain wind speeds of 39 mph or higher. Storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph.

Of the predicted hurricanes, three to five could be major, packing wind speeds of 111 mph or higher.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season set a record with 30 named systems, 14 of which strengthened into hurricanes.

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