Potential Tropical Cyclone developing in the Gulf of Mexico

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 11:20am

FOR THE PAST FEW DAYS I HAVE BEEN KEEPING YOU UPDATED ON A SYSTEM THAT HAS DROPPED INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. THIS SYSTEM IS STARTING TO SHOW SIGNS OF DEVELOPMENT THAT COULD LEAD TO A POSSIBLE CATEGORY 1 HURRICANE OVER THE NEXT 24-48 HOURS. HERE ARE THE LATEST DETAILS ON THE SYSTEM.

THE LATEST SATELLITE IMAGES ALONG WITH SURFACE AND UPPER-AIR DATA INDICATE THAT THE BROAD LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM LOCATED OVER THE NORTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO HAS BECOME A LITTLE BETTER DEFINED.  ALTHOUGH THE SYSTEM IS CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING SOME WIND SHEAR,  THE LOW HAS A HIGH CHANCE OF BECOMING A TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR TROPICAL STORM BY THURSDAY. SINCE THIS SYSTEM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BRING TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS AND STORM SURGE TO PORTIONS OF THE COAST OF LOUISIANA BY LATE THURSDAY OR FRIDAY, POTENTIAL TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVISORIES ARE BEING INITIATED AT THIS TIME. THE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS UNCERTAIN SOME ERRATIC MOTION WILL BE POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS OR UNTIL A WELL-DEFINED CENTER DEVELOPS. HOWEVER, THE GENERAL MOTION AS INDICATED BY THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL MODELS IS EXPECTED TO BE TOWARD THE WEST- SOUTHWEST. BY FRIDAY, THE CYCLONE IS FORECAST TO TURN TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST AND THEN TURN NORTHWESTWARD BY SATURDAY INTO A DEVELOPING RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE THAT CURRENTLY EXTENDS FROM THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. WESTWARD ACROSS THE SOUTHERN PLAINS AND INTO THE DESERT SOUTHWEST. THE TIMING OF THE RIDGE BREAKDOWN  WILL BE CRITICAL SINCE A LATER/EARLIER TURN BY THE CYCLONE WOULD SHIFT THE TRACK WEST/EAST OF THE CURRENT FORECAST. THE MODEL GUIDANCE IS WIDELY DIVERGENT AFTER 48 HOURS WITH THE UKMET MODEL THE FARTHEST WEST SHOWING LANDFALL ALONG THE UPPER TEXAS COAST, AND THE GFS AND HMON MODELS FARTHER EAST WITH LANDFALL IN SOUTH-CENTRAL LOUISIANA. THE ECMWF MODEL IS ABOUT MIDWAY BETWEEN THESE TWO EXTREMES, AND THE OFFICIAL TRACK FORECAST LEANS TOWARD THAT MODEL SINCE IT HAS PERFORMED WELL DURING THIS SYSTEM'S PRE-DEVELOPMENT PHASE.

NOTE THAT FORECAST UNCERTAINTY FOR DISTURBANCES IS GENERALLY LARGER THAN FOR TROPICAL CYCLONES, ESPECIALLY BEYOND 48-72 HOURS. ONLY SLOW STRENGTHENING IS EXPECTED FOR THE NEXT 24-36 HOURS DUE TO THE LACK OF A WELL-DEFINED CENTER AND INNER-CORE WIND FIELD, ALONG WITH SOME MODEST NORTHERLY WIND SHEAR. BY 48  HOURS AND BEYOND, HOWEVER, THE COMBINATION OF ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC CONDITIONS BECOME IDEAL FOR INTENSIFICATION. THE VERY LOW SHEAR CONDITIONS,  ARGUE FOR QUICK INTENSIFICATION, BUT GIVEN THAT THE SYSTEM IS STILL IN THE EARLY STAGES, THERE IS STILL A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY 

KEY MESSAGES: 1. A TROPICAL DEPRESSION IS EXPECTED TO FORM LATER TODAY OR THURSDAY. CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR THIS SYSTEM TO STRENGTHEN TO A HURRICANE AT IT APPROACHES THE CENTRAL GULF COAST BY THE WEEKEND.

2. DANGEROUS STORM SURGE IS POSSIBLE IN PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA, AND A STORM SURGE WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THIS AREA. THE RISK FOR DANGEROUS STORM SURGE IMPACTS ALSO EXISTS FARTHER WEST ALONG THE LOUISIANA COAST INTO THE UPPER TEXAS COAST, AND ADDITIONAL STORM SURGE WATCHES MAY BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LATER TODAY OR TONIGHT. RESIDENTS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM AND LISTEN TO ANY ADVICE GIVEN BY LOCAL OFFICIALS.

3. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF THE LOUISIANA COAST AND ADDITIONAL TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE WATCHES COULD BE NEEDED LATER TODAY OR TONIGHT FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE LOUISIANA COAST AND THE UPPER TEXAS COAST. 4. THE SYSTEM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE VERY HEAVY RAINFALL ALONG AND INLAND OF THE CENTRAL GULF COAST THROUGH EARLY NEXT WEEK.

4. POSSIBLE IMPACTS FOR ROWAN COUNTY ARE AS FOLLOWS 

 

FROM  A RAINFALL POTENTIAL WE SHOULD SEE VERY LIMITED IMPACTS AT THIS POINT. A POSSIBLE QUARTER TO A HALF OF AN INCH IS POSSIBLE BETWEEN NOW AND FRIDAY EVENING. THE IMPACTS FOR THIS SYSTEM APPEAR TO BE MORE OF AN ISSUE FOR AREAS TO OUR SOUTH AND WEST. I WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE DATA AS IT COMES IN OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS AND PROVIDE UPDATES RIGHT HERE AND ON MY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS AS WELL. AS ALWAYS THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING ROWAN COUNTY WEATHER! 

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