Tracking the Tropics: Keeping an eye on Gulf of Mexico as water temperatures get warmer

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — While the remnants of Cristobal still churn in the Midwest, the focus in the tropics now turns back to the Gulf of Mexico. This is one of the main areas to watch in the tropics during the month of June.

The reason being is the warm water temperatures. Warm water, 79 degrees or above, is a main ingredient during tropical cyclone formation.

Tropical Storm Cristobal churned up the waters some and brought the sea surface temps down a couple of degrees. However, sea surface temperatures are still running in the low 80s in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s still plenty warm enough for tropical development.

Waters out in the Atlantic are warm but not ripe enough yet for major tropical development. Given the water temperature, a non-tropical area of low pressure in the Atlantic currently only has a 10 percent chance of developing due to unfavorable environmental conditions.

Water temperatures off the coast of South Africa in the Pacific are cooler than normal, which will potentially lead to the development of La Nina. La Nina in the Pacific tends to lead to a busier-than-normal season in the Atlantic due to a large area of low vertical wind shear. Calmer winds allow storms to develop easier.

The remnants of Cristobal have merged with another system in the Northern Plains. Severe storms are possible across parts of the Midwest on Wednesday including damaging thunderstorms, wind gusts, isolated tornadoes and large hail.

Tracking the Tropics is keeping you informed throughout the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Watch a live update every Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET and join the conversation with our Tracking the Tropics team.

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