There are plenty of “soon to be warm” weather systems coming out of the Midwest this week, from which the GFS model shows one of them, currently swirling through the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall south of Houston in the early hours of Tuesday, a couple of days ahead of schedule.

What’s really interesting about this particular storm, as the Weather Channel reports, is that it’s just a CATEGORY 1 Atlantic Basin Hurricane with winds over 100 miles per hour, but because it’s moving so fast it should be able to bring massive amounts of rainfall to parts of the southeastern U.S. This would be the highest amount of rainfall for such a storm to date in the U.S.

The storm, named Florence, is the first of a group of potential cyclones that has been brewing in the Atlantic. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center reported that the odds of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season were 85 percent, down from 90 percent last week. That number is highly uncertain, however, because of how rare it is for any cyclone to form in the middle of winter.

Across the Caribbean, Caribbean Sea, and Atlantic, models show tropical waves gaining strength, and potentially producing a first hurricane for the region by the end of the month. The system is currently forecast to hit the coast of Africa by April 2, which means that Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic may have to deal with this kind of weather again, if it comes. The prediction center said the window for the tropical waves to get stronger and intensify enough to become a hurricane has already closed. The winds associated with the wave only reach about 80 miles per hour, so it would need to get a lot stronger to start doing damage in the region.

Another, larger disturbance in the tropical Atlantic, known as an “area of low pressure,” is being monitored by NASA’s Aqua satellite, but could potentially reach tropical storm strength and hurricane intensity in the next few days. The National Hurricane Center isn’t expecting any hurricanes in the Atlantic basin this year, but there is still a high possibility that one will form in the Caribbean basin before the end of the month.

If the Atlantic is meant to be on a more temperate (read: windy) season, there’s a touch of ironic luck to the timing of these cyclones. But the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority noticed a trend as recently as a few days ago: There are more storms than normal heading into February, a time when the calendar says that winter has definitely concluded for the region. As many commuters may know, there are many buildings in New York City that use old-school ventilation systems, rather than the newer, energy-efficient system you can find at some new buildings in the area.

Possible signs that the “warm” cycle is coming to an end. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

With a few days left in February, we’ll have to see whether this cycle of tropical storms will continue.


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