Forecasters continue to monitor tropical disturbance off East Coast

    A tropical disturbance off northern Florida may form into a tropical depression early this week, potentially impacting the New Jersey area around July 4, forecasters say.

    There is a 60 percent chance of tropical depression formation through 48 hours, according to an outlook issued by the National Hurricane Center Sunday afternoon. Within five days, the chance increases to 80 percent. 

    From the outlook:

    Satellite wind data and surface observations indicate that the low pressure system located about 230 miles east of St. Augustine, Florida, is gradually becoming better defined as it moves slowly southward to southwestward. Although upper-level winds are only marginally favorable, a tropical depression is expected to form during the next day or two. However, the system’s proximity to dry air could inhibit significant development until environmental conditions become more conducive by late Tuesday while the low meanders offshore of the Florida east coast. The Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft that was scheduled to investigate the disturbance this afternoon has been canceled, and the flight has been rescheduled for Monday morning, if necessary.

    New Jersey may see precipitation from the system on July 4 as it interacts with a frontal boundary that forecasters say will bring heavy rain Thursday, the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, NJ advises in a forecast discussion issued Sunday evening. 

    “The average track right now takes the low north toward the Outer Banks on Friday and then off the Mid-Atlantic coast Friday night/Saturday before exiting northeast,” according to the forecast discussion.

    Although the disturbance is expected to pass offshore, “some rain may linger behind the boundary into Friday night and early Saturday with the associated low pressure system,” the forecast discussion advises. 

    The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and ends on November 30. No tropical systems have formed as of late June. 

    The season peaks in September, and 80 percent of named storms between 1981 and 2010 have formed between August and October, according to The Weather Channel. 

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