May 14 (UPI) -- A low-pressure area in the Gulf of Mexico could develop into a subtropical depression or storm in the next five days, the National Weather Service said Monday.
Whatever its outcome, heavy rain is expected in Florida and the Gulf Coast this week. The weather activity could give an early start to the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1.
"This system could acquire some subtropical or tropical characteristics while it moves slowly northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the next few days. Regardless of subtropical or tropical cyclone formation, this system will enhance rainfall across portions of Florida and the northeastern Gulf Coast during the next few days," the National Hurricane Center said in a statement. It added that it is giving the low-pressure formation a medium chance of developing into a stronger weather disturbance.
Much of Florida can expect up to 3 inches of rain this week, with 3 to 7 inches likely in southeastern and eastern Florida, The Weather Channel reported Monday. Areas of localized flash flooding are possible. One to 3 inches of rain are predicted for other parts of the Southeast, with the storm moving northward this week.
The expectations come as over 26 percent of Florida is experiencing drought conditions. Miami had 0.37 inches of rain in February, 1.88 inches below average for the month, and only 0.19 inches in March, 3 inches below the average.
A widespread storm crossed the United States from Texas to Pennsylvania on Sunday. Trees were uprooted in Pennsylvania and baseball-size hail was observed in Texas, part of a stormy pattern spreading from the Great plains states to the Northeast. The weather pattern is expected to stay in place for most of the week.