Anyone who is worried about the potential for rapid development of tropical storms coming onshore in the Southeast should be very concerned about the current incredibly high sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico this week. The map below shows that parts of the Gulf have temperatures above 90 F (32 C in this metric map). Any storm that would move over one of those pools of hot water has the potential for rapid development just before it comes onshore, leading to serious impacts on the people, crops, livestock, and properties where the storm tracks. This is what happened with Hurricane Michael in 2018 and Hurricane Ian in 2022.

Fortunately, there is nothing out there now that looks like it could spawn a storm in the next few weeks, but once we hit the active part of the season, the risks will ramp up quickly. This is one reason why Colorado State University increased the number of storms expected in their seasonal forecast for the Atlantic hurricane season this week in spite of the El Nino that is currently underway.