Remnants of Hurricane Agatha could become Alex this week

By Judson Jones, CNN Meteorologist

After making landfall Monday afternoon as a Category 2 hurricane just west of Puerto Angel, Mexico, Agatha quickly weakened and is no more than a remnant low pressure system, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

However, some of the remnants of this storm could drift east, help trigger a storm off Mexico’s east coast and threaten Florida by this weekend.

“Global model guidance continues to suggest that Agatha’s remnants will be absorbed by a larger low-level cyclonic vortex over southeastern Mexico over the next two days, with this new system having potential for development over the northwest Caribbean Sea and southeast Gulf of Mexico by the end of this week,” the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning.

A low-level cyclonic gyre is a large-scale pattern of rotating winds in the lower atmosphere.

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The NHC believes there is a 10% chance that this vortex and the remnants of Agatha will cause a tropical depression within the next two days and an even higher chance, 60%, that it will develop within 5 next days.

“Regardless of the new development, the remnants of Agatha and the larger gyre will continue to bring heavy rains and life-threatening flash floods to parts of southeastern Mexico for the next two days,” the NHC said.

If it develops into a tropical cyclone over the next few days, it will likely be anywhere between Yucatán and the southern tip of Florida.

And that worries some meteorologists.

Named storm could hit Florida later this week

For the system to become a named storm, it would need to reach tropical storm strength (39 mph + sustained winds) and form a circulation center.

If so, it would become the first named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season and be called Alex.

The forecast models don’t have a good idea of ​​this possible storm and predict two completely different outcomes.

As of Tuesday morning, the US model shows the weak and unorganized disturbance south of Florida this weekend.

On the other hand, the European model shows a stronger storm hitting southwest Florida.

The inconsistency between these two models is not surprising. Until this storm moves off the eastern coast of Mexico and forms a circulation center, it will be difficult for these forecast models to predict with extreme accuracy.

“Tropical models work extremely well after a low pressure center is located by observations or satellite,” says CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. “This potential storm does not yet have a location on the map and at this point the models are only guessing where it might form. It will take a bit longer, and subsequent runs of the model to generate a potential track and size.

But, what is most worrying is where the NHC thinks it could form and where the European model predicts the path of this eventual storm. Just over the southern Gulf of Mexico.

“The biggest concern is that if we get a circulation center to form, it’s likely to be very close to or above the loop current in the southern Gulf… That’s where the deepest water and the hottest currently exists,” says Myers. “That’s where the storms escalate quickly.”

So this possible development is something to watch very closely this week.

“If a traffic center doesn’t form, we move on to the next one because it’s going to be a very busy and long season,” Myers said.

Hurricane season officially begins on Wednesday, June 1, and NOAA predicts an above-average season.

“The water is going to get a lot warmer from now on and the storm potential won’t even peak until September,” Myers says.

Why it will not be called Agatha

If something forms and becomes strong enough, the system will undoubtedly get a new name and will not be referenced with the name Agatha.

“The system should maintain an identifiable closed circulation as it moves over Mexico and emerges into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Dennis Feltgen, meteorologist and communications and public affairs manager for the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

And since Agatha dissipated in southern Mexico on Tuesday morning and will not retain its circulation or focal point, it will not retain the name.

It is incredibly rare for a storm to maintain its circulation while traversing the rugged terrain of Mexico.

“There is nothing in the historical record where a tropical cyclone remained intact while hiking from the eastern Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Basin,” Feltgen told CNN.

However, the opposite happened.

“In 2016, ‘Otto’ moved from the Atlantic basin to the eastern Pacific Ocean and retained its name,” Feltgen said.

Otto, instead of crossing Mexico as Agatha did, crossed the area between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

The-CNN-Wire
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