June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season in the North Atlantic Ocean. This season ends on November 30, with chances of a hurricane spiking from late August until September. Experts are calling for a 65% chance of an above-normal 2022 season.
This prediction is supported by the hurricane season beginning early. Per CNN, Hurricane Agatha made landfall on Monday, May 30. The storm struck just west of Puerto Angel, Mexico, as a Category-2 hurricane. Agatha has weakened into a low-pressure system since, but there is still a threat.
Experts have predicted that storm remnants could move east, create activity off the Mexican coast, and then move upwards to target Florida by this weekend. On Tuesday morning, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) detailed this potential activity. A model suggests Agatha’s remnants will be absorbed by a low-level cyclonic gyre currently hovering over southeastern Mexico. This gyre is a pattern of spinning winds in Earth’s lower atmosphere.
This new system could potentially develop over the northwestern Caribbean and the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by the end of the week. The NHC believes there is a 30% chance of the systems combining to create a tropical depression and a 70% chance of this occurring over the next five days.
Agatha’s remnants are already generating potentially life-threatening flash floods over parts of southeastern Mexico. If a tropical cyclone forms, it could stretch between the Yucatan region and southern Florida. If sustained winds reach more than 39 mph, the first named storm of the 2022 hurricane season will be dubbed Alex.
Meteorologists are concerned due to forecast models predicting two very different outcomes. The American model shows a weak and unorganized system south of Florida taking place later this week. The European model, on the other hand, suggests a strong storm hitting southwestern Florida.
It will be difficult to predict the storm’s activity until it moves off the east coast of Mexico. What concerns experts the most is that the European model forecasts the track of the depression moving right over the southern Gulf of Mexico. This is where the waters are deepest and warmest and where storms can intensify at a rapid pace.
It is very rare for a storm to exist while moving across Mexico. NHC communications officer Dennis Feltgen commented that “nowhere in hurricane history has a tropical system remained intact from the eastern Pacific to the Atlantic basin.”
Even if this remains true, scientists warn us to gear up for a busy hurricane season.