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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Storms path remains uncertain, but hurricane unlikely

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A National Hurricane Center graphic shows the potential paths of a storm system expected to cross the Yucatan peninsula today and head into the Gulf of Mexico as early as Monday. Chart: NOAA

A storm expected to bring heavy rain and maybe even flooding to the Yucatán peninsula Sunday will likely enter the Gulf of Mexico on Monday or Tuesday, forecasters say.

“There remains considerable disagreement on where this potential depression or tropical storm will track,” Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson said. “Models agree that 93L is unlikely to become a hurricane, but the system is large and moist and will be capable of producing extremely heavy rain.”

Invest 93L is the name of the storm system. The first storm to reach sustained winds of 39 mph will be named Bret, followed by Cindy.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center gave the low-pressure system an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone — either a depression or storm — over the next four days.

Conditions are too hostile for development in the waters surrounding the Yucatán peninsula but are are anticipated to change sometime between Sunday and Wednesday, AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.

Another factor will be whether the bulk of the system passes east or west of the Yucatán peninsula. The latter would give the storm a better chance of heading north into the central Gulf.

Forecasters were also watching a tropical wave in the mid-Atlantic, about 1,300 miles east of the southern Windward Islands. The storm was expected to continue west at 15-20 mph over the next several days. The National Hurricane Center gave it a 60 percent chance of developing into a tropical system over the next five days.

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