Atlantic hurricane season is only 15 days old, but the ocean basin presently features two areas of disturbed weather that forecasters are monitoring for tropical development — one in the Caribbean and a second in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean.

The prospects of the disturbance in the eastern Atlantic developing are low, so we will focus on the disturbed weather in the Caribbean that could evolve into Tropical Storm Bret next week in the Gulf of Mexico.

Although there is presently no organized weather system in the area of concern in the Caribbean, models have consistently predicted storm development in the region, which then drifts into the Gulf of Mexico next week.

The National Hurricane Center says there is a 50 percent chance a tropical depression or tropical storm will form within the next five days.

If this disturbance earns a name, it will be Bret — the second named storm of 2017, coming nearly two months after Tropical Storm Arlene formed over the central Atlantic Ocean in April.

Water vapor satellite image over the area of interest Thursday morning. (NOAA)

Potential scenarios for the disturbance’s development through Monday evening are presented by the collection of four global model forecasts, shown below.


Surface wind speed and surface pressure four-day forecasts from four global models. These forecasts are all valid at the same time: Monday evening. (tropicaltidbits.com)

While it is too soon to pin down exactly where this disturbance will track and how strong it will become in the coming days, these models suggest a relatively high likelihood of a tropical depression or storm in the Gulf of Mexico early next week.

Areas from Texas to Florida should monitor this system, as they could, at the very least, receive a lot of rain next week.

Some recent June storms have formed under similar circumstances and include Andrea (2013), Debby (2012), Alberto (2006), Arlene (2005), Bill (2003), Allison (1995) and Alberto (1994). None of these storms became very intense (Allison was briefly a Category 1 hurricane). Storms that form in the gulf this early in the hurricane season have somewhat limited potential given water temperatures only marginally warm enough for tropical development.


Analysis of sea surface temperature for June 15. (University of Miami)

On average, the second named storm of hurricane season forms July 7, so this would not be too out of the ordinary if it did form. And this is a highly favored region for development this time of year as well.


Points of origin (red dots) for tropical cyclones that formed June 11-20 in the records spanning from 1851-2015. (NOAA/NHC)