Tropical Storm Arlene Forms and Pivots but Florida’s Not Out of the Woods Yet

Tropical storm arlene
Credit: National Hurricane Center

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has been watching a storm off of Florida’s Gulf Coast for the last several days. At first, the storm seemed unlikely to amount to much. However, over the past several days, conditions became favorable for rotational force. If you have followed along with our previous coverage, you’ll know that rotational force is what is necessary to designate a tropical depression or tropical storm.

Gulf Coast storm central Florida

Credit: Pixabay

Last night, the group of disorganized thunderstorms did, in fact, organize into a rotational tropical depression. This afternoon, the storm was upgraded to a tropical storm making it the first named storm of 2023’s hurricane season. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Tropical Storm Arlene.

Curious about the difference between a tropical depression and tropical storm? It comes down to wind speed. A tropical depression has the lowest wind speed, with speeds up to 40 mph. A tropical storm is slightly more intense, with wind speeds ranging between 40-73 mph. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when this wind speed exceeds 73 miles per hour.

Last night, Florida stood ready, bracing for impact. Today, however, tells a different story. The storm seemed to be on a direct path to cross Florida but took a sudden turn. As the storm strengthened, it also pivoted away from the Sunshine State. Currently Tropic Storm Arlene is projected to miss Florida entirely as it heads toward Cuba.

Tropical storm arlene

Credit: National Hurricane Center

The storm is expected to move slowly, and Florida isn’t out of the woods yet. Slow-moving Tropical Storm Arlene will still bring significant flooding risk to the state as it skirts along the coast dumping rain on much  of the state. Severe damage from Arlene is not expected in Florida.

Tropical Storm Arlene is unlikely to become a hurricane. As we have seen, though, atmospheric conditions can change quickly. The possibility that the storm will be upgraded to Hurricane Arlene before it begins to weaken cannot be ruled out. It also cannot be ruled out that the storm will not shift again and make its way back toward Central Florida.

As always, stay tuned right here at Disney Dining. Wehave been watching the system closely and will continue to do so and bring you any relevant updates as they happen all hurricane season long.


About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.