Tropical weather outlook for Monday, July 8

Citrus County could receive heavy rains and localized flooding from a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico that has an 80% likelihood of developing into a tropical depression in the next five days.

As of Monday afternoon, forecasts showed the worst of it should skirt Citrus County and head to the Florida Panhandle, Mississippi and Texas.

But Capt. Dave DeCarlo, the county’s emergency management director, said residents should review their hurricane plans and stock up just in case conditions change.

“It looks like development will be held over the warm waters south of the Gulf and all models show it will push toward the west and back up to the northern part of the Gulf between Louisiana, Alabama and parts of the (Florida) Panhandle,” DeCarlo said.

Conditions can change and it’s too early to say more, he said. Much depends on the system’s location in the Gulf, wind speed and wind shear, which can stall growth and tides.

A trough of low pressure Monday morning over central Georgia is forecast to move south toward the northeastern Gulf, where a broad area of low pressure is expected to form in a couple of days, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Gradual development is possible and a tropical depression could result. If a tropical storm forms, it would be named Barry.

If the storm is to the north of Citrus County, it would push water into the coast, he said. To the south and it would push the water out.

“But if it’s far enough in the Gulf (we) may not get anything,” DeCarlo said.

The Chronicle — and the EOC — will continue to monitor the system as the week progresses.

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Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.

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