As Tropical Rainstorm Beta meanders along the Gulf Coast and Teddy eyes Atlantic Canada, with widespread impacts expected for land, meteorologists are watching a new disturbance near the United States. Forecasters are keeping a close eye on an area of concern near Florida that could slowly develop this week.
The disturbance will spend some time over the warm waters between South Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas this week, and even if tropical development does not occur, some impacts are in store for the Sunshine State.
Downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms pushed south of the Florida Keys early Tuesday, with some drier air moving into the region for the rest of Tuesday as well as Wednesday.
The disturbance will dip southward over the Florida Straits and part of Cuba into midweek and could drift back northward later this week. The feature is embedded in a weak frontal zone strewn with spotty showers and thunderstorms. As the feature drifts over warm waters, forecasters expect some gradual organization to take place.
This image, captured on Tuesday Sept. 22, 2020, shows clusters of thunderstorms along a front stretched from the southern Gulf to the southern Bahamas. This activity may slowly develop into a tropical system over the next week. (CIRA at Colorado State/GOES-East)
During Wednesday, downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms will affect portions of central and western Cuba.
Boating and beach interests should be on the lookout for rapidly changing weather conditions that may include not only gusty winds and lightning strikes, but also sudden rough seas and possible waterspouts.
During the latter part of this week, steering breezes may allow this disturbance, if it survives, to wander northward over warm waters of the Florida Straits and/or the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Showers and locally gusty thunderstorms may then move back northward over the Keys and the Florida Peninsula.
If disruptive winds aloft ease later in the week, some tropical development could occur.
The next Greek letter on the list is Gamma, should the system organize and intensify to a tropical depression and then a tropical storm.
The current probability of tropical development is rather low at this point and on the order of 20%. However, since the Atlantic has been churning out tropical storms at a record pace, with each named storm since Edouard setting early-formation records, there is certainly potential for the system to gain strength.
Thus far, there have been 23 named systems, including Alpha and Beta in the Greek alphabet after the regular names on the list for 2020 had been exhausted. The record for named tropical storms and hurricanes in one season currently stands at 28, which was set during the 2005 hurricane season. Greek letters up through Zeta were used in 2005.
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