High Chance of Tropical Formation for Disturbance in Gulf as It Heads North

At 8AM EDT this morning, the National Hurricane Center issued an update for that blob of moisture in the Bay of Campeche that forecasters have focused on for a week now. Last weekend, its chance of tropical formation was 20%. NHC now gives it a 70% chance. NHC also has it headed, like a billiard ball, toward the side pocket in the Gulf of Mexico between Houston and New Orleans.

Source: National Hurricane Center.

Continued Intensification, But Little Movement in Next 2 Days

Disorganized showers and thunderstorms continue over the Bay of Campeche and southern Mexico in association with a broad low pressure area. This system is expected to move little during the next day or two, and any tropical formation should be slow to occur during that time period. Chances of formation in the next TWO days are still at 20%.

However, the disturbance should begin to move northward by Thursday, and a tropical depression is likely to form late in the week when the low moves across the central or northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

National Hurricane Center

Regardless of development, heavy rainfall will continue over portions of Central America and southern Mexico during the next several days. Heavy rains could also begin to impact portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Friday.

Where Will Storm Come Ashore?

Jeff Lindner, Harris County’s Meteorologist, notes that the area currently has no defined low-level, low-pressure system. Global models, he says, show a trough lifting north on Thursday with better chances for low-pressure system formation.

The general consensus of the global models continues to indicate a track toward the north or northeast, but uncertainty remains about the final track. Expected wind shear over the western Gulf, conditions in the western Gulf, “a fairly disorganized system is expected,” says Lindner.

Even if the storm heads toward Houston, the dirty side would likely be to our east and southeast Texas would likely see minimal impacts.

Expected Impacts

Impacts will likely focus around increasing tide levels as higher and longer swells approach the coast this weekend. But at this time, Lindner believes tides should remain below flooding levels. He expects to know more later in the week as the storm approaches. Rain chances may increase also if some moisture can wrap around the western side of the circulation, but any heavy rainfall and flooding threat should focus east of our area.

Tropical Storm Bill Has Formed in the Atlantic

Also note that Tropical Storm Bill has formed in the Atlantic with 60 MPH winds and is headed northeast. At this time, it does not pose a threat to land.

Finally, a tropical wave has moved off the western coast of Africa. It is slowly moving west. But due to strong upper level winds and dry air aloft, NHC gives this area only a 10% chance of tropical formation.

Two weeks into hurricane season, the Atlantic Basin is already looking at triple threats. Experts predicted an above average season. This could be the start.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/15/2021, based on information from NHC and HCFCD

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