Tropical Depression Two develops off the North Carolina Coast

Tropical Depression Two (TD2) developed off the North Carolina Coast Monday. TD2 has winds of 35 mph and is moving northeast at 21 mph. TD2 is forecast to intensify throughout the day into Tropical Storm Bill with sustained winds of 50 mph by Tuesday morning.

The northeast movement will steer TD2 away from the United States coast. Impacts are forecast to be minimal for North Carolina and the East Coast. A few rain showers and storms are possible for coastal parts of North Carolina but the main impacts will be rough seas for North Carolina and the East Coast. If you have any beach plans, be aware of rip currents and follow all rules by local officials.

Tropical Storm may develop in the Gulf of Mexico next week

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring the southwestern Gulf of Mexico for tropical development over the next several days. A low pressure is forecast to develop, which may acquire tropical characteristics, developing into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm. The National Hurricane Center gives this system a 40% chance to develop into a Tropical Depression or Storm over the next 5 days.

An area of showers and thunderstorms is forecast to develop over the weekend into early next week in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. This area of thunderstorms will start to observe a lowering of pressure as the system starts to strengthen over the coming days. 

As the system continues to organize, it may develop into a well-defined low pressure by the middle of next week in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. At this point, the low pressure may acquire tropical characteristics, developing into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm. 

The low, possibly tropical, by the end of the week will approach the Gulf States from late week into the weekend. There are too many questions to pinpoint where this system may move inland so all areas from Texas to Florida should keep a close eye on the forecast over the coming days. 

This forecast is fluid with quite a bit of uncertainty. A tropical system may not even develop, but regardless of development, tropical moisture and associated rain may move into the Gulf States by next weekend. Recent heavy rains across Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi could lead to an increased flash flood concern if rain associated with this system impacts the region. 

Muggy and Daytime Storminess in Atlanta in the Coming Days

5-day rainfall totals

Atlanta and the surrounding metro areas will experience muggy and wet conditions through the remainder of the weekend into mid-week. A surface high pressure will remain off the Southeast coast, while a closed mid-level low spins over the southern and central Plains. This pattern will favor southwesterly flow (winds coming from the southwest), which will maintain  a moisture-rich atmosphere across the Atlanta area. 

The closed low in the Plains will not come far enough eastward to provide much lift in the atmosphere over Atlanta. Also, no frontal boundaries will trek southward to provide much lift either. Thus, the primary lifting mechanism to support rainy and stormy weather will come from daytime heating each day. On most days, I expect that storms will fire earlier in the afternoon and begin to die out in the early evening. A few could last into the evening hours. 

The Weather Prediction Center currently has 5-day rainfall totals in Atlanta and across the metro between 0.25-0.75 inches. They have areas closer to the Appalachians in northern Georgia getting between 1-2 inches, thanks to orographic lift. Honestly though, totals could exceed those ranges in both places. With decent moisture in the atmosphere, Atlanta could find itself picking up a quick inch from any storm that develops and moves over the city. With that said, the more widespread precipitation will occur over the Mid-south, closer to the closed low.

5-day rainfall projections for the U.S.
5-day rainfall projections for the U.S.

Afternoon storms and more than average cloud-cover will keep daily highs below average most days. Even so, outdoor conditions will remain uncomfortable due to above average humidity. We’re used to it in the South, but if you’re anything like me, I still don’t like it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

By the way, I’ll begin including much better maps, specifically made for Atlanta and surrounding areas very soon. I apologize for the less than stellar national maps in the meantime. 

Tropical development possible in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico over the next week or two

The official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1st and the tropics appear to heat up by the end of the second week of June. All eyes are on the western Caribbean and southwestern Gulf of Mexico from late next week into the following week for tropical development. The timeframe to monitor is June 10th through June 15th.

Forecast models have consistently indicated the possibility of tropical development in this region for a few days, so this has heightened awareness of this possibility. Diving deeper into the setup, it does appear a favorable environment supports this idea as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) transitions into a wetter phase over the Caribbean. The MJO in this phase would favor the development of thunderstorm activity over the Caribbean, lowering the surface pressure, which would have the possibility to further strengthen into a low pressure that could develop into a tropical cyclone. This is why the forecast models have indicated a setup favorable for tropical development is on the horizon. 

The area of thunderstorms over the Caribbean late next week will be over warm waters. Water temperatures are favorable for the development and strengthening of tropical cyclones in this region. In the Gulf of Mexico, water temperatures have risen into the 80s. Water temperatures this warm will support tropical activity. As the area of thunderstorms, and associated lower pressures, moves into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. It will have the opportunity to develop into a tropical cyclone due to the warm waters and forecasted lower wind shear. Wind shear, while great for severe thunderstorms, is not idea for tropical systems, so the lower wind shear over the Gulf will help assist in tropical development by mid-June. 

Looking back on the history of June tropical systems, this is an area that has “spawned” tropical cyclones, so this setup and timeframe will need to be monitored closely. Another concern is, if a system develops in the western Caribbean or southwestern Gulf of Mexico, it has a higher probability of impacting the United States. These systems typically move into the Gulf States. All interests from Texas to Florida should keep an eye on the forecast over the coming days. 

There is still high uncertainty in this setup and the forecast is fluid. It is no guarantee that a tropical system will develop but the setup does raise eyebrows. Keep checking back for updates.