It is increasingly likely that a broad area low pressure in the northwest Caribbean will develop into a tropical cyclone as it lifts north into the Gulf of Mexico early next week. The National Hurricane Center is currently giving the low a high chance (80 percent) of developing over the next 7 days.
Environmental conditions are favorable for development with an upper-level anticyclone over the northwest Caribbean causing light wind shear. However, development is not likely until Monday or Tuesday. Land interaction with the Yucatan Peninsula could also interfere with development.
Looking at model guidance, there is now solid support for development. Up until yesterday only the ECMWF, UKMET, and CMC had been predicting tropical cyclogenesis with poor run to run consistency. Now there is support from ECMWF, GFS, UKMET, and CMC as well as ensemble guidance.
It is still too early to know where exactly this system will track or how strong it might become. However, the upper air pattern over the eastern U.S. next week will favor a general north/northeast track into the Gulf and then possible toward anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to South Florida.
Current ensemble guidance suggests that a stronger storm may move more toward the Panhandle/Big Bend while a weaker storm may move more toward the Florida Peninsula. Where the center ultimately consolidates (assuming a tropical cyclone forms) could also have implications on track.
Residents of Florida should closely monitor the progress of this system.