There is a high probability that a tropical depression or tropical storm is likely to form by mid to late week over the northern Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center has given a shortwave located over central Georgia an 80% chance of development within the next five days (see Fig. 1).
The shortwave trough is currently located over central Georgia and is forecast to move south and close off into an upper-level low over the northern Gulf of Mexico by tomorrow. This will allow broad surface low to develop and slowly intensify. The steering currents are fairly weak, which will allow the low to meander over the waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico aiding in the aforementioned intensification.
Latest numerical guidance supports this idea and there’s a consensus that the intensifying low over the northern Gulf of Mexico will become a tropical depression or tropical storm by mid to late week. This depression/storm will begin to move west in the northern Gulf of Mexico from mid to late week. The Euro and GFS have trended west with the projected track of the depression/storm and now move the system west towards the coast of Louisiana & Texas by the end of the week. A majority of the Euro (see Fig. 2) and GFS (see Fig. 3) ensemble members concur with a more westward solution, too, and have a projected landfall somewhere between the upper-Texas coast and Louisiana by the weekend.
It should be noted, there is a vast deal of uncertainty with the track of this system and it is too early to forecast where this depression/storm will make landfall. All areas from Florida to Texas need to remain on high alert this week and begin preparing for tropical storm impacts. Confidence is high that a tropical depression or tropical storm will develop! Barry is the next name on the list if this low is classified by the National Hurricane Center later this week.
Regardless of tropical development. Heavy rain is likely along the Gulf Coast, which will lead to flooding. Coastal areas from Florida to the upper-Texas coast will see 4-10″ of rain (see Fig. 4) this week; inland areas of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi & Louisiana will also see heavy rain (eventually, parts of Texas will see heavy rain, too). Rain chances will begin today & tomorrow for Florida, Georgia & Alabama then shift west into Mississippi & Louisiana by mid-week followed by a continued west movement of precipitation into Texas by the weekend. Isolated tornadoes and rip currents are also likely.
Christopher Nunley is Meteorologist on Firsthand Weather, Lecturer in the Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University (MSU), and a PhD Candidate (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) at MSU. He earned his M.S. in Applied Meteorology at MSU, was an Assistant Cross Country Coach and taught at the University of North Texas, and was a Broadcast Meteorologist at KTEN-TV (just north of Dallas, Texas). Christopher’s main focus lies within teaching and inspiring prospective meteorology students, atmospheric research to further our understanding of atmospheric processes, and forecasting and analyzing extreme weather events to help save lives!