A remnant of Tropical Storm Trudy that triggered fatal mudslides in southern Mexico last week could strengthen as it moves northeastward toward Florida this week.
A wet, messy storm in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche continued to pack rain and thunder Tuesday, a warning the Atlantic hurricane season is still open for business. The storm front is not expected to do much as far north as Manatee County at this point although Miami can expect a thorough soaking.
The system, a remnant of Tropical Storm Trudy that triggered fatal mudslides in southern Mexico last week, could become a tropical storm as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said. But forecasters expect a cold front moving south to prevent any strengthening as the storm nears the U.S. coast. Still, South Florida could get hit with heavy rain and possible flooding later this week.
Where and when the tropical storm’s remnants and the cold front collide will probably determine who gets soaked, said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen.
“They’re playing a game of what if and when,” Feltgen said.
A hurricane hunter plane sent to investigate Tuesday afternoon found the system was better-defined, but still too disorganized to be deemed a tropical storm.
The crucial front, part of a nor’easter off the coast of New Jersey and New York, is expected to reach Lake Okeechobee by Wednesday evening, said National Weather Service meteorologist Barry Baxter. The front won’t bring dry air or cooler temperatures, but it could push the soggy tropical system farther south, he said, and pull rain over South Florida.
Forecasters expect the front to stall over the Florida Keys, meaning Miami-Dade and Monroe counties are likely to get the most rain.
While the 2014 hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30, has remained largely quiet in Florida, late-season storms can be tricky and deliver punishing winds and rain. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma sailed out of the Gulf of Mexico a week before Halloween and caused $17 billion in damage to the state. Hurricane Sandy triggered massive flooding in the Northeast in 2012 after it landed in New Jersey on Oct. 29.