Hurricane center increases odds of development for area of interest near Florida’s east coast

·2 min read

An area of interest continued to have increased odds of development as it meandered off of Georgia and Florida’s east coast Friday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The trough of low pressure emerged offshore of Georgia and South Carolina and continues to produce shower and thunderstorm activity, according to the NHC’s 2 p.m. update.

The low’s odds of growing into a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next two to five days increased to 40%, the NHC said.

The NHC scheduled a weather reconnaissance flight for an invest mission Saturday afternoon where an aircraft will be fly 10,000 feet above the ocean’s surface to monitor streaks in the white caps of waves, and wind direction.

Atlantic conditions are slightly ripened for storm growth over the weekend and into next week as the low drifts southeast closer to Florida.

If the storm develops into a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 39 mph or greater, it will become the sixth named storm of the year and receive the name Fred.

Regardless of development, showers and thunderstorms and moderate to fresh winds can be expected over the weekend off the Florida coast

Should it form next week, it would be remarkably early given the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s records show that hurricane season’s F-named storms typically form around Sept. 8 during the peak of season.

However, it wouldn’t break the record for the earliest forming F-named storm, which occurred last year with Tropical Storm Fay — the storm made landfall on Florida’s panhandle on July 6 as a tropical depression and grew into a tropical storm on the U.S. East Coast four days later.

The NOAA is predicting the 2021 season to be an above average year in named-storm production with an estimated total between 13 to 20 named storms before the end of hurricane season on Nov. 30. An average season observes 14 named storms.

Jpedersen@orlandosentinel.com.

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