Tropical Storm Chris Now A Category 1 Hurricane
The first designated hurricane for the 2012 Atlantic season has formed this morning well up in the North Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Chris actually has a decent satellite presentation for being so far north, with a visible eye-like feature, and now has been upgraded by the (NHC) National Hurricane Center to a low-end category one cyclone with 75 mph winds.
Chris is not expected to remain a hurricane for long, (AT 5PM Chris was downgraded back to a tropical storm with 70mph winds) as the storm is tracking over cooler waters that don't normally support hurricanes for very long, and increasing hostile upper-level wind shear is forecast to move into the region over the coming days. Hurricane Chris over the next 36-48 hrs should make a cyclonic loop before heading far out into the North Atlantic while weakening and should only be an issue for shipping lanes and a swell producer.
Watching The Gulf For Possible Weak Development - Invest 96L
Closer to home, there has been a large area of disturbed weather in the northwestern Caribbean, Yucatan Channel and southern Gulf of Mexico for the last several days. This area is also being monitored by NHC for possible slow development moving into the weekend. Nevertheless, this system has been bringing deeper moisture northward across Florida and Cuba producing heavy rainfall the last 48 hours.
If the Gulf system was to develop over the weekend it would be named Tropical Storm Debby, but as of right now it has a lot of organizing to do.
Update 2:00 pm EDT: NHC has the area of intrest in the southeastern Gulf up to 50% of developing into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours. The system is also labled Invest 96L now.
Update 4:42 pm EDT: Chris was only a hurricane for about 4-5 hours today, and has just been downgraded back to a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph. This is the last update from me on Chris. - Meanwhile, all eyes watching Invest 96L in the Gulf for development this weekend.