Grace Now Expected to Track Farther South, Turn Into Tropical Storm Tuesday

Tropical Depression Grace at 11 AM EDT was moving West at approximately 15 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. If Grace stays on the current track, it will move between Cuba and the Yucatan.

No Direct Impacts to Upper Texas Coast Expected

At the present time, Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist, expects no direct impacts to the upper Texas Coast, with the possible exception of some high tides and large swells.

Greater impacts with squalls and higher seas appear more likely along the lower Texas Coast into the weekend. 

As always with tropical systems, check forecasts frequently for changes.  Remember, forecasts for this storm have shifted direction a whopping 90 degrees in less than a day. Yesterday afternoon, NHC forecast the storm to head toward the Florida panhandle; last night it was headed toward Texas. Today, they show it heading toward the Mexican mainland.

Cone of uncertainty for Grace. Remember: the storm has an equal chance of making landfall anywhere within the cone.

Current Conditions

Maximum sustained winds are currently 35 mph with gusts to 45. Grace will move over Haiti this evening and strengthen to a tropical storm south of SE Cuba Tuesday morning. Cuba and the Cayman Islands have already issued tropical storm warnings.

Strong trade winds will continue to push the storm west.

Air Force Reserve and NOAA Hurricane Hunters were both able to locate a center for Grace–and measured several possible areas of tropical-storm-force winds.

High pressure over the western Atlantic is forecast to slide westward over the southeastern United States during the next several days, which should keep Grace on a westward to west- northwestward trajectory for the entire 5-day forecast period.

Forecast Maps

Grace is the lower, elongated storm. The purple area is Fred. And the red area in the Atlantic is a third is tropical depression 8.
Tropical-storm-force winds could hit the Mexican mainland on Friday.

All available models closely agree on the new track.

Models are starting to show consensus on Grace’s track.

Intensity Forecast

Grace’s intensity forecast remains complicated by interaction with land and the possibility of some westerly shear during the forecast period. However, the southern shift in the forecast track takes the center of Grace over very warm 30 degrees Celsius waters in the northwestern Caribbean Sea. Therefore, Lindner expects gradual strengthening.

Once the system reaches the Gulf of Mexico, shear should decrease, says Lindner, and conditions will support additional strengthening. Many models bring Grace to hurricane intensity by the end of the forecast period.

Favorable upper level and sea surface conditions along the path of Grace over the southern Gulf support some of the stronger solutions and tropical systems in this area of the Gulf tend to have a history of quick development. NHC is currently indicating Grace nearing the Mexican coast as a tropical storm, but a hurricane is certainly possible.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/16/2021 at noon based on information from NHC and HCFCD

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