Tropical depression forecast to form in Gulf of Mexico this week. | News Coverage from USA

Tropical depression forecast to form in Gulf of Mexico this week.

The hurricane season is awakening from its slumber.

After several quiet weeks, a tropical system appears likely to form within the next few days in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.

“A tropical depression is likely to form by the end of the week” near the northern Gulf Coast, the hurricane center said Monday morning. The center gives the system an 80% chance of forming. 

If the depression’s winds reach 39 mph, it would become Tropical Storm Barry.

“Regardless of development, this system has the potential to produce heavy rainfall along portions of the northern and eastern U.S. Gulf Coast later this week,” the hurricane center said.

AccuWeather senior meteorologist Adam Douty warned that “residents from western Florida to eastern Louisiana should especially remain alert for an increase in downpours and a heightened risk for flooding later this week and into the start of the weekend.”

The storm could strengthen into a hurricane, according to BAM Weather meteorologist Ryan Maue, who said that with Gulf water temperatures over 82 degrees in spots, that’s “plenty sufficient for a (major) hurricane.”

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The weather system that could spawn the tropical depression is still over land, hovering over Georgia, according to the hurricane center. That system will sink south toward the Gulf over the next few days.

To help its residents prepare for the rain, the city of Tallahassee has opened four sandbag distribution centers.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday urged Floridians to be prepared.

Tropical storms in July are not unusual: From 1950-2018, 67 named storms formed in July, averaging about one named storm in July each year, the Weather Channel said. 

The strongest recent storm to make landfall in the United States in July was Hurricane Dennis, which hit the western Florida Panhandle on July 10, 2005, as a Category 3 hurricane.

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