Tropical activity may brew near Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean by mid-June

AccuWeather meteorologists have been monitoring the northwestern Caribbean for tropical activity for a couple of weeks. Indications are that torrential downpours that develop in the Gulf of Mexico and waters northeast of Florida have the potential to evolve into one or more tropical systems beginning during the second week of June.

While there is no sign of a tropical system rapidly forming and intensifying in the coming days, weak disturbances have recently caused trouble in the form of torrential downpours and flash flooding in some of the northern islands of the Caribbean.

One such feature that AccuWeather meteorologists are tracking traveled from the west-central Caribbean to just north of Hispaniola on Monday. Part of this broad disturbance led to additional downpours in the islands of the northeastern Caribbean on Friday night.

Additional downpours and the potential for slow tropical development will not end with that feature. On Sunday, more showers and thunderstorms will continue to gather over the north-central and northwestern Caribbean, including parts of Central America, southeastern Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and the Bahamas.

Some of the downpours will work northward into Florida this week but may also expand northward and westward across the Gulf Coast.

As a tropical disturbance or tropical wave enters from the east early this week and a dip in the jet stream approaches, not only will moisture be pulled northward, but there is also a chance that a tropical depression could evolve in the zone from the northwestern Caribbean to the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Unusually warm waters, well above the critical threshold of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and a moist environment favor development. The upcoming jet stream dip may also help to provide some low-grade spin in the zone.

Proximity to land areas in the region may be a deterrent against the formation and significant strengthening, especially if steering breezes quickly take any budding tropical depression onshore.

From June 13 to 16, a zone from the northwestern Caribbean to the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico could support tropical development.

"The average date of the first named storm in the Atlantic basin is June 20, so if a storm does form, it would be several days ahead of the historical average," AccuWeather Lead Tropical Meteorologist Alex DaSilva said.

"Regardless of development, there's the potential for very heavy rain across central and South Florida and portions of Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as tropical moisture surges north," DaSilva added.

The upcoming downpours will help to curtail the sweltering heat that is forecast to peak over much of the peninsula this weekend.

One scenario slowly develops a weak tropical system, spreading it northeastward across Florida and the Bahamas. This would bring torrential downpours to some of the Florida Peninsula.

Aside from the risks of flash flooding in urban and low-lying areas and possible isolated tornadoes and waterspouts, the rain would help ease abnormally dry to drought conditions and significantly lower the wildfire risk over the Florida Peninsula. The same disturbance could then linger off the Southeast coast of the U.S.

Another scenario slowly moves this disturbance northward or westward over the Gulf of Mexico instead of tracking across Florida, perhaps even stalling it over warm water for an extended period, where it could gain more strength.

There is also the possibility that more than one disturbance may evolve from the broad mosaic of showers and thunderstorms.


A second system may emerge from the northwestern Caribbean and wander into the western Gulf of Mexico after the middle of June. This scenario could bring torrential downpours and gusty winds to northeastern Mexico and perhaps the western and central Gulf coast.

Should one or more disturbances evolve into a tropical system and linger over water for a few days, the risk of rapid intensification would increase due to unusually high water temperatures.

AccuWeather's Tropical Weather Team, led by DaSilva, continues to sound the alert for an extremely busy hurricane season in the Atlantic with multiple threats for the U.S. Of the 20-25 named systems predicted, eight to 12 are projected to become hurricanes, with four to seven to reach Category 3 strength or greater.

These numbers are higher than last year and well above the 30-year historical average from 1990 to 2020. Unusually warm waters this year could lead to a significant number of rapidly intensifying storms.

Despite significant pre-season and early-season tropical activity in recent years, the historical average for the first tropical storm is not until June 20 and the first hurricane typically does not form until Aug. 11.

Peak Timing / Frequency of Hurricane Season (2022)

Peak Timing / Frequency of Hurricane Season

This year represents the latest start to named storms in 10 years. However, historically, activity in May and early June are poor indicators of what the heart of the hurricane season [mid-August to mid-October] will be like.

Want next-level safety, ad-free? Unlock advanced, hyperlocal severe weather alerts when you subscribe to Premium+ on the AccuWeather app. AccuWeather Alerts are prompted by our expert meteorologists who monitor and analyze dangerous weather risks 24/7 to keep you and your family safer.