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Hurricane Cristobal heading for open water

The quiet hurricane season is showing signs of picking up steam. In addition to what is now Hurricane Cristobal, the National Hurricane Center is watching two other areas of disturbed weather.

Looking first at Cristobal, in his Tuesday blog entry Weather Underground founder Dr. Jeff Masters, Cristobal is a pretty marginal storm. “The storm is stretched out in a long line of heavy thunderstorms, has no eye or low-level spiral bands, and is giving early August's Hurricane Bertha some stiff competition for ugliest Atlantic hurricane of the century. The 5-day forecast shows it heading into the north Atlantic, possibly bringing tropical storm-force winds to Bermuda, but posing no other direct threat to land.

Perhaps of more interest is a clump of showers and thunderstorms in the Gulf of Mexico just off of the Louisiana/Texas coastline. While the NHC gives it only a 10 percent chance of turning into any kind of tropical cyclone during the next 5 days. The system is a perfect example of how systems can boil up in the Gulf of Mexico and quickly pose a threat to coastal areas.

While the Atlantic can still produce storms and there is another area of disturbed weather 900 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, the Gulf of Mexico is where storms can develop seemingly overnight and force emergency managers and residents to make quick decisions about warnings and evacuations. It has been a relatively quiet season so far, but this is a time of year to be especially alert. Being caught by surprise can be a deadly mistake.

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