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National Hurricane Center forecasters are keeping an eye on two systems roiling in the central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that have the potential to become tropical cyclones.
Early Friday, forecasters said a system percolating in the Gulf of Mexico for the last week has a 60 percent chance of forming in five days. A faraway Atlantic storm several hundred miles from the Cabo Verde Islands is also becoming better organized. They upped the odds of it becoming a tropical depression or storm to 40 percent over the next five days.
Conditions appear good to help the Gulf system gradually intensify as it moves slowly northwestward, forecasters said. The Atlantic storm was moving westward at a quick clip of 15 to 20 mph and could develop more slowly as it tracks west.
This hurricane season, which started June 1, is expected to be just as busy as last season, thanks to warm Atlantic waters and that absence of an El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific. In their preseason forecast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted the Atlantic could churn up 11 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and between two and four major storms with winds topping 111 mph.
The 2016 season churned up 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes. In September, Hermine became the first hurricane to strike Florida in more than a decade. Later in the month, Matthew, a fierce Cat 5, carved a path of destruction across the Caribbean before rolling up Florida’s east coast.
This year also got an early start, with Tropical Storm Arlene popping up in the Central Atlantic in mid April, only the second time on record a storm has appeared in April.