According to the National Hurricane Center, a tropical depression has formed in the northeast Gulf of Mexico on this, the first day or hurricane season. The NHC gave the storm only a 10% chance of formation just two days ago. They upped that to 50% this morning. This afternoon, it turned into a tropical depression and should turn into a tropical storm by this evening.
A USAF mission this afternoon along with coastal radars and ship/platform/buoy data indicate that the elongated area of low pressure over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico has become defined enough to be declared a tropical depression.
The plane found current wind speeds of 35mph. A tropical depression becomes a tropical storm when winds reach 39 – 73 mph.
WSW/SW upper-level winds are currently shearing the storm. Nearly all of the heavy weather is located to the north and northeast of the circulation.
Convection has been moderate today, but heavy thunderstorms near the center are possible tonight into early Friday.
The depression has drifted slowly this afternoon. Little forward motion is expected tonight. See visible satellite loop: Visible Satellite Loop for Invest 91L | Tropical Tidbits.
Track Will Take Storm Toward Cuba
The tropical depression is meandering over the northeast Gulf of Mexico, but will begin a slow southward motion on Friday and into the weekend as the depression becomes influenced by the western portion of a trough over the western Atlantic.
This is an unusual steering pattern over the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The more typical easterly or southerly steering patterns are not yet fully in place. Mid-latitude influences are still reaching well into the Gulf of Mexico. The depression will continue southward into the weekend.
The system could gain modest organization before much stronger WNW/NW upper level winds impact the system late Friday into the weekend.
The depression could attain minimal tropical storm intensity by 8PM eastern time. However, beyond Friday, upper level winds will become increasingly hostile. The system will eventually dissipate over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, according to Lindner.
The first subtropical storm of the year actually formed in late January, in case you were wondering. Despite the early start, the NHC still predicts a near normal hurricane season.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/1/2023
2102 Days since Hurricane Harvey