Tropical storm Bret forms in Atlantic; 2nd system in Gulf sparks warning for Louisiana

Two Atlantic tropical systems in the normally quiet month of June is unprecedented, hurricane forecasters say.

On Monday afternoon, Tropical Storm Bret formed in the Atlantic and another system in the Gulf of Mexico seemed on the verge of tropical status, earning the designation Potential Tropical Cyclone Three.

Potential Three on Monday afternoon also triggered a tropical storm watch for the western Louisiana and northeastern Texas coasts, from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, which is about 170 miles west of New Orleans, to High Island, Texas, which is east of Houston, near Galveston Bay.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the eastern half of the Louisiana coast, from Intracoastal City to the mouth of the Pearl River, which borders Mississippi. The warning area includes New Orleans.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected in a given area, while a watch means tropical storm conditions are possible.

As of 11 p.m., although Potential Three was seeing sustained winds of 40 mph, the storm system was nearly stationary in the Gulf of Mexico. It had an 80 percent chance of forming into a stronger storm within the next two days.

Stewart called the prospect of two tropical cyclones in June “unprecedented.”

“That’s extremely unusual, given that we usually average one named storm in the month of June every two to three years,” said Stacy Stewart, a Senior Hurricane Specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Neither system was expected to bring a direct hit to Florida, but at least with the Gulf storm, the Keys and mainland Florida could expect rain over the next day or two from its peripheral bands.

Conditions aren’t favorable to spawn a hurricane but parts of the Gulf Coast can expect heavy rain.

Tropical Storm Bret was expected to move westward through the Caribbean Sea before being torn apart by winds, Stewart said.

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