While a number of U.S. websites and Twitter feeds are unavailable because of the government shutdown, it’s important to remember that the Atlantic hurricane season is still in progress.

Even more important when you consider that last year’s season looked like it was wrapping up when Hurricane Sandy, struck the East Coast October 28-31. Note: Sandy was the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

A tweet by FEMA administrator Craig Fugate late Wednesday directed us to the latest Atlantic Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). See graphic below:

 

According to the NHC, showers and thunderstorms associated with an area of low pressure over the northwestern Caribbean Sea have become better organized and the system has a high chance – 70 percent – of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.

Over at Wunderblog, Dr. Jeff Masters says of the disturbance:

I give a 30% chance 97L will be Tropical Storm Karen with top winds of 40 – 60 mph at landfall between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle on Saturday, a 5% chance it will be stronger, and a 65% chance it will be a tropical depression or mere tropical disturbance. Heavy rains of 3 – 6″ can be expected falling the coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle on Saturday, even if 97L does not develop into a tropical depression.”

Meanwhile, the NHC has been issuing advisories for Tropical Storm Jerry, though at this time it is nearly stationary over the central Atlantic and far from land.

Read up on hurricane facts and statistics over at the I.I.I.