A storm system swirling off the tip of Florida is keeping Hurricane Hunters busy Monday afternoon.
The Air Force Reserve crew is flying one of its WC-130J planes to investigate a tropical disturbance about 125 miles east of Melbourne.
The National Hurricane Center gives it an 80 percent chance of formation, which means it could be the Atlantic’s first named storm of the season, which would be Arthur.
“Environmental conditions are becoming more conducive for development, and only a slight increase in organization would result in the formation of a tropical depression,” according to the center’s latest update.
It also predicts a turn toward the Gulf Coast by Thursday.
The data collected by the Hurricane Hunters will help the center decide if the system should be upgraded to a depression.
They will sample the wind field around the storm’s low-pressure center, looking for a circulation pattern at low altitudes.
“The biggest challenge will be if there is enough wind speed to detect a circulation,” said Lt. Col. Rich Harter with the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron in a statement. “We could be out there all afternoon.”
He said they will also look for thunderstorm development near the center, which would help it intensify. Satellite imagery shows winds from the north have been keeping the storms to the south.