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National Hurricane Center notes Atlantic season's first area of interest for cyclone formation

The National Hurricane Center on Wednesday designated its first area of interest for possible tropical cyclone formation, a gathering of thunderstorms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters called it a "complex low pressure area" in the southern Bay of Campeche, near Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, with disorganized rain showers and thunderstorms. The system is expected to move inland over eastern Mexico by Saturday, but strong upper-level winds are expected to inhibit further development for now.

They gave it a 20 percent chance of forming into a tropical cyclone within the next five days.

But, they noted, it "has the potential to produce extremely heavy rains and life-threatening flash floods and mudslides during the next few days over portions of southeastern Mexico."

Hurricane season began June 1 in the Atlantic. It is expected to be a below-average season given the development of a possible El Nino, which generally is known to inhibit tropical cyclone development. El Nino is associated with increased wind shear, when wind speeds and directions vary at different altitudes.

The Pacific hurricane season began March 15, and there have already been two named storms, Hurricane Amanda and Tropical Storm Boris.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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