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Hurricane watch: Introducing Nate and Maria

September 7, 2011 |  6:38 pm

Two new weather systems are brewing in the tropics -- both with the potential to hit the Atlantic Seaboard with heavy rain and flooding come mid-September, according to If these two storms continue to grow and make their way toward the United States, you'll get to know them as Nate and Maria.

But meteorologists say no need to panic just yet.

In an interview with The Times, Mike Pigott, senior meteorologist at, said the storm system that may eventually be known as Nate (it's labeled "Tropical Low" in the image above) is currently in the southern Gulf of Mexico. It's unclear if it will hit Mexico or the United States.

As for the system known as Maria, she is still located over the mid-Atlantic and is not expected to approach the United States for another week to 10 days. And as amateur hurricane watchers know by now, anything can happen in a week to 10 days.

Pigott said there is nothing unusual about multiple weather systems developing at once, and he also said he didn't think this has been a particularly bad hurricane season. "It's about what we expected," he said. "Not anything above normal."

However, he did note that a year typically has about 10 named storms. This year, the forecast is for 15.

If Nate coalesces, it will be the 14th named storm of 2011.


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Image: The two areas of concern appear as a low over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and Tropical Storm Maria in the Atlantic in this satellite photo taken Wednesday. Credit: