99L path

So Far, 99L Headed Toward Gulf Along Same Track as Harvey

Jeff Lindner, Harris County’s meteorologist, forecasts a potential hurricane threat for the western and northwestern Gulf of Mexico early next week. And it’s following the same track as Harvey – almost four years later to the day.

Current Location of 99L in South-Central Caribbean

A tropical wave currently designated 99L and moving westward in the Caribbean off the coast of Columbia still has no center of circulation. However, global models indicate that it will continue to develop over the western Caribbean Sea either Friday or Saturday and move into the south-central Gulf of Mexico over the weekend.

Area of Investigation 99L is that large blob between the eastern tip of Cuba and the northern coast of Colombia.
99L on left should reach the southern Gulf by this weekend.

Still a Wide Range of Potential Tracks for 99L

There has been a significant shift during the last 24 hours to the right (east). The majority of the models now show 99L heading in the direction of the northwest Gulf of Mexico. However, models also show a wide range of potential tracks from northern Mexico to the Mississippi coast. 

The black line is the most likely track but uncertainty remains high.

So, a fair amount of uncertainty exists in the forecast, especially since there is such spread in the ensemble guidance. The lack of a defined surface center at the moment increases that uncertainty. 

Hurricane Harvey’s track in 2017. Note the similarity in area of origin and projected paths. Also note where Harvey intensified.

This weekend will be the fourth anniversary of Harvey. It’s eerie to note the similarities between that storm and this one.

Intensification Very Likely

Conditions over the Gulf of Mexico appear to be favorable for intensification. 

Nearly all global models see 99L turning into a hurricane. Some see it turning into an intense hurricane in the Gulf by early next week.

Lindner warns that It is too early to start discussing impacts because of the uncertainty on the track. However, he does see increasing tides and 10-15 foot waves from Sunday into Monday. Rain chances will increase starting today and remain high into the weekend. 

“Obviously,” says Lindner, “the forecast and potential impacts will have significant changes as the track become more clear in the coming days.”

Residents and interest along the TX and LA coast should review hurricane plans and make sure hurricane supplies are fully stocked. Monitor forecasts closely and frequently.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/25/2021 based on information from HCFCD, NOAA, NHC and Tropical Tidbits

1457 Days since Hurricane Harvey