JACKSONVILLE, Fla – It is the season for Gulf hurricanes and, based on forecast models, one may turn up next week.
A secondary peak in the hurricane season occurs around the second week in October with Gulf states typically becoming a target.
Wilma, Mitch, Opal, all were deadly October hurricanes that originated in the Caribbean and hit Florida.
What is shaping up next week could be very similar to 2017’s Hurricane Nate.
Nate was the Gulf’s fastest-moving hurricane on record that raced out of the Yucatán Channel and made landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi as a Category 1 hurricane.
While the developing system may not have Nate’s speedy 29 mph average motion, it is expected to take the same track.
The models have been consistent in sniffing out an area of low pressure that could develop in the west Caribbean Sea near Nicaragua Sunday that would track northward into the Gulf next week.
While activity in the open Atlantic closer to Africa slows down in October and November, the Caribbean Sea becomes a hot spot for development with many systems moving closer to Florida.
Tropical cyclones develop here because deep warm water supplies abundant available energy to fuel hurricanes. This oceanic heat content can be quite high in the western Caribbean during October.
In addition, hybrid tropical cyclones can develop due to increasing fall cold fronts that stall around Florida.
The strong ridge of high pressure currently setting up easterly winds along the Jacksonville coast, often results in broad low pressure south of Cuba called a Central American gyre.
Last year's Hurricane Nate originated from such a feature and so could Tropical Storm Michael, which is the next named storm on the list.