National Hurricane Center has issued a Special Tropical Weather Outlook this afternoon for the area of disturbed weather over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
An area of showers and thunderstorms has become slightly better organized today. Global forecast models continue to suggest that this area will gradually develop into a tropical or sub-tropical cyclone over the eastern/northeastern Gulf of Mexico sometime between Monday and Wednesday.
A broad surface low or elongated trough is slowly forming on the eastern flank of an upper level trough located over the central Gulf of Mexico. Forecast models suggest the broad surface low will gradually intensify and drift N/NNE along the eastern flank of the upper level trough over the next 72 hours.
There remains some uncertainty on whether the system is more sub-tropical in nature (with winds and rain well away from the center) or more tropical in nature (with strongest winds and rains closer to the center). The latest European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) outlook shows more of a tropical system. ECMWF predicts a surface low of 1003-1005mb making landfall over the Florida panhandle by the middle of this week.
Regardless of development or not, heavy rainfall and squalls will be impacting much of Florida over the next several days and spreading NNW along the NE/N Gulf of Mexico coast, generally east of Mississippi by the middle of the week.
Currently the National Hurricane Center gives this system a 30% chance of development in the next 48 hours and 40% over the next 5 days. Regardless of development or not, heavy rainfall and squalls will be impacting much of Florida over the next several days and spreading NNW along the NE/N Gulf of Mexico coast generally east of Mississippi by the middle of the week.
At this time no significant impacts from this system are expected along the upper Texas coast. Surface winds Tuesday-Thursday may shift back to the ENE/NE, allowing an even drier air mass to advect into the region from the NE. Afternoon high temperatures should rise into the low to mid 90’s. Given the likely small scale nature of any system, do not expect any increase in tides of seas over the NW Gulf of Mexico.
By Jeff Lindner, Director Hydrologic Operations Division/Meteorologist
Harris County Flood Control District
Posted 5/13/18, 4:55 p.m CDT
257 Days after Hurricane Harvey