Tropical development is possible in the Gulf of Mexico this upcoming week

The National Hurricane Center is keeping a close eye on the Gulf of Mexico for possible tropical development this upcoming week.

Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today to see a video update on the system.

Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center highlighted the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico within a 20% chance (low) for tropical development this upcoming week.

A broad area of low pressure is expected to develop as environmental conditions become favorable for potential organization. This organization and strengthening could allow for a tropical cyclone to eventually develop although the odds are currently low.

Those odds could increase over time as shear is forecast to become low over the Gulf of Mexico and the sea surface temperatures are anomalously warm. Firsthand Weather has been closely monitoring the Gulf of Mexico for this potential development.

It’s too early to determine which areas could see impacts from this system, tropical or not, but all interests along the Gulf Coast and Southeast Coast should keep a close eye on the forecast over the coming days.

The first name on the 2022 Atlantic Names List is Alex. The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1. See NOAA’s Hurricane Outlook for 2022.

Increasing chances for tropical development in Gulf

The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1. Unlike the previous past several Mays, this May has yet to feature a named storm. In fact, there’s only been one system that was given a chance to develop. This system failed to develop into an organized tropical system before making landfall. Despite the lack of May activity this year, NOAA is still predicting an above-average Atlantic Hurricane Season.

It’s possible the first official week of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season gets off to a quick start. Models are suggesting increased odds of some type of tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico sometime around the middle to end of next week/weekend. To be precise, this is sometime around June 1-5.

There is a strong likelihood that a tropical system will develop in the Eastern Pacific later this week/weekend. The National Hurricane Center gives this system an 80% chance, or a high chance, to develop over the next 5 days in the Eastern Pacific.

As this system develops and organizes, it appears it’ll make landfall in south Mexico/Central America before crossing over into the Bay of Campeche. As this system crosses the higher terrain of this region, it’ll likely dissipate becoming a non-organized, non-tropical system but some of the energy and structure will remain intact.

At that point, the system could develop back onto a tropical cyclone, possibly a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm. It’s too early for specifics but wind shear at the time looks light enough to favor development and the sea surface temperatures are quite warm in the region. In fact, the entire Gulf of Mexico is running above average right now.

Because of this, models have started honing in on the possibility of development in the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico late next week. The reliable European ensembles are showing a greater than 50% chance for development near the Bay of Campeche late next week.

If this system develops, there are a lot of questions as to where it would move. A lot of times, these systems can make landfall in Mexico but some also have impacted the U.S. While it’s too early to make this call if this system even develops, the European guidance is suggesting the system could potentially meander in the Central Gulf of Mexico, possibly to eventually be picked up by a trough which will pull the system northeast toward possibly the Gulf States.

Again, a lot of questions to be ironed out. This system could not even develop and U.S. impacts are far from a given. At this point, keep checking back frequently for updates if you live along the Gulf Coast and/or Southeast Coast.

Climatologically favored areas for tropical development during June are the Gulf of Mexico and the western Caribbean so it bears watching. Stay tuned!

NOAA predicting an above-average Atlantic Hurricane Season

The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season is expected to feature above-average activity according to NOAA’s latest forecast. NOAA is forecasting 14-21 Named Storms (average 14), 6-10 Hurricanes (average 7), and 3-6 Major Hurricanes (average 3).

NOAA gives the odds of an above-average season of 65%. The reasons for the expected above-average activity are due to La Nina and associated weaker trade winds, warm sea-surface temperatures, and an active West African monsoon. These variables all favor a hyperactive season.

It’s important to note: that just because an above-average season is expected, that does not mean all named systems will impact land but the odds do increase with an above-average season. Also, it only takes ONE system to impact land to cause significant, life-altering impacts.

Here is the list of Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Names for the upcoming 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1 but it is important to begin preparing NOW so you’re ready for hurricane season. Here are a few tips to be prepared in case a tropical system impacts your area: determine your personal hurricane risk, find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, and review/update insurance policies, make a list of items to replenish hurricane emergency supplies and prepare your home for the coming hurricane season.

Watching the Gulf of Mexico for tropical development

The Atlantic Hurricane Season doesn’t officially begin until June 1st but the National Hurricane Center is already monitoring an area in the Gulf of Mexico for potential development over the next 24 to 36 hours.

A broad area of low pressure over the north-central Gulf has observed an uptick in thunderstorm activity recently. While the area of low pressure and thunderstorms remains weak and unorganized, this area has been given a 10% chance for tropical development over the next 24 to 48 hours according to the National Hurricane Center.

At this time, it appears the environment over this region of the Gulf will remain unfavorable for development before the low moves onshore in about 24 to 36 hours.

While tropical development looks unlikely at this time, this system will increase shower and thunderstorm activity for the central Gulf Coast and create rough beach conditions for the Gulf Coast. Stay tuned for updates!

South & Southeast: a wetter, cooler weather pattern

A strong summer-like ridge is controlling the weather across the South & Southeast. This ridge is allowing temperatures to skyrocket well above average into the 90s and this is expected to stick around through the end of the workweek into the first half of the weekend, but there are changes in store with a changing weather pattern.

Guidance suggests this ridge will weaken and move eastward off the Southeast coast with a trough digging into central parts of the country. This changing weather pattern will help increase moisture on the western periphery of the ridge along with sending a cold front into the region for the second half of the weekend.

Temperatures will stay in the 90s through Saturday but the cold front arrives overnight Saturday into Sunday, which will significantly drop temperatures. Temperatures will fall from highs in the 90s with a few 100s (Wednesday through Saturday), down into the 70s & lower 80s (Sunday through Tuesday). Low temperatures will fall into the 50s & lower 60s, which will be quite refreshing.

Wednesday’s forecast highs
Thursday’s forecast highs
Friday’s forecast highs
Saturday’s forecast highs
Sunday’s forecast highs
Monday’s forecast highs
Tuesday’s forecast highs

Rain chances also increase over the weekend into early next week with this pattern change. Isolated to scattered showers and storms are expected, which is great news as some areas in the South & Southeast are beginning to slip into abnormally dry & drought conditions. Expect a widespread 0.75-1.25″ of rain with higher amounts possible. Widespread or organized severe weather is not expected.

Rainfall forecast next 7-days

A high-impact system to bring the potential of severe weather and snow to parts of the South & Southeast late week into the weekend

Firsthand Weather is monitoring the potential for severe thunderstorms and wintry weather for parts of the South & Southeast this Friday and Saturday as an upper-level system sends a batch of Arctic air south into the lower-48. Ahead of this Arctic air mass, a warm, moist, unstable air mass will build across the South & Southeast later this week. As this cold front clashes with the unstable spring-like air mass, it will trigger a line of thunderstorms on Friday across the South. While early and with still some questions to be ironed out, it appears favorable wind shear and a developing surface area of low pressure could allow for thunderstorms to become strong, possibly severe on Friday including the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

The favored areas appear to be from eastern Texas, southern Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi Friday afternoon and spreading east into Alabama, Georgia, and north Florida during the evening and overnight hours. It’s possible the severe threat continues on Saturday for eastern parts of Georgia, northern Florida, and the Carolinas. Currently, there is no severe risk area outlined by the Storm Prediction Center but this could change over the coming days. If you live in the aforementioned area, make sure you keep a close eye on the forecast and have a plan in place in case a warning is issued on Friday.

Favored areas for thunderstorms are within the blue, green, and yellow shaded areas across the South & Southeast late Friday (this image is from the European model courtesy weathermodels.com)

The next concern is the cold, Arctic air rushing into the South & Southeast late Friday into Saturday. This air will be quite chilly and subfreezing. This is important because it appears the developing surface area of low pressure could help pull in enough moisture into the colder, subfreezing air for a quick changeover to wet snow for parts of the South & Southeast late Friday into Saturday. It needs to be mentioned that there are a lot of questions with this set up and this is a low confidence forecast but the guidance does support the cold air and moisture to overlap long enough for wet snow for some areas during this timeframe. The favored areas are Oklahoma, northern Texas, Arkansas, and central & southern Missouri Friday; eventually spreading into northern Mississippi & western Tennessee overnight Friday; and eventually into the rest of central & eastern Tennesee, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, Kentucky, the mountains of North Carolina, and potentially Upstate South Carolina on Saturday morning. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group.

Future radar late Friday into Saturday. Green and dark green show rain & storms while blue shows snow (this GIF is from the European model courtesy weathermodels.com)

It needs to reiterated that there are a lot of questions with this forecast, it’s low confidence, and snow is not a guarantee for the aforementioned areas, but models are suggesting this is a possibility and while confidence is low at this time, confidence is increasing some areas will see snow late Friday and Saturday. It’s too far out for accumulation forecasts but this will be monitored over the coming days.

Behind the cold front, quite chilly air will stick around for a couple of days with a widespread freeze for the South & Southeast this weekend so bring the pets inside and protect the plants.

Temperature departures from average. The blue, green, and purple shaded areas across the eastern half of the country depict below-average temperatures while the orange and red colors depict above-average temperatures this weekend (this image is from the European model courtesy weathermodels.com)

Severe storms Sunday for parts of the South

Vasin Lee/Shutterstock.com

We have entered meteorological spring and severe thunderstorms & tornadoes enter the forefront of people’s minds. On cue, there is a chance for severe thunderstorms Sunday for parts of the South. Moisture & warmth will grow across the region this week into the upcoming weekend. A frontal boundary and upper air system will sneak into the region late Sunday. This will be enough to help trigger showers and storms late Sunday. These storms could become strong, potentially severe, as they tap into the moisture & warmth that will build across the region.

This is still several days out so there are some questions surrounding the exact setup and what ingredients and the amount of those ingredients will come together to support severe weather. At this time, it appears the energy levels or “jet fuel” to support severe thunderstorms will be sufficient enough to allow for severe storms but not be anything too noteworthy. However, the wind directions & speed & changes in the directions & speed at different layers of the atmosphere will be pronounced enough to compensate for the lack of “jet fuel” leading to a solid chance for strong to severe storms. While early, it appears tornadoes, damaging winds, and hail are all possible late Sunday.

The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted a slight severe risk area, or a level 2 of 5, from northeastern Texas and southeastern Oklahoma into much of Arkansas, far northwestern Mississippi, southeastern Missouri, and western Tennessee. This is where there is the best chance for severe storms Sunday evening & night. Additional areas will likely be added to this risk area and upgrades are possible over the coming days.

Sunday’s severe risk area

If you live in or around this area, go ahead and keep an eye on the forecast over the coming days and prepare for the possibility of severe weather on Sunday. You will want reliable weather sources to receive weather information from along with a plan on what to do in case a warning is issued for your area.

Major winter storm to slam the East Coast, impacting millions: winter weather alerts from South Carolina to Maine

A major winter storm will slam the East Coast this weekend, impacting millions, bringing hurricane-strength wind gusts and feet of snow. An area of low pressure will begin to get its act together early Saturday off the coast of the Carolinas, then accelerating north-northeast just off the Mid-Atlantic and New England coast. As it does, the low pressure will rapidly strengthen bringing strong winds and heavy snow to coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic and New England. Watch the latest video forecast on this winter storm!

European model’s simulated precipitation Saturday through Sunday

Because of the expected impacts from the winter storm, a plethora of winter weather alerts have been issued from South Carolina to Maine and all areas in between. There are Blizzard Warnings, Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories, and Winter Storm Watches.

Winter Weather Alerts

Areas of heavy snow are expected, impacting major Metro areas across the Northeast and New England as the winter storm really begins to ramp up late in the day Saturday. Farther south, as the storm starts to develop, snow is even expected into eastern Tennesee, northeastern Georgia, and South Carolina. This is where a dusting to a couple of inches of snow is possible in the higher elevations. Heavier snow totals are expected in North Carolina with the favored areas being the mountains of western North Carolina and northeastern North Carolina where more than half a foot are expected. Farther north, along coastal parts of the Mid-Atlantic and New England, over a foot of snow is expected Saturday into Sunday as the storm begins to rapidly intensify. Isolated areas of nearly two feet of snow cannot be ruled out for southern New England. It’s also important to note, the snow will be wind blown in these areas so blizzard conditions are possible for many coastal areas from the Mid-Atlantic through New England late Saturday.

Southeast snow forecast Saturday-Sunday
Mid-Atlantic snow forecast Saturday-Sunday
New England snow forecast Saturday-Sunday

A strong system to bring snow to much of the East Coast

A high-impact winter storm looks to impact many areas along the East Coast this weekend. An area of low pressure will develop and track just off the East Coast this weekend, rapidly intensifying as it does so. This track will spread impacts into many areas from the Carolinas, to the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast & New England from Saturday through Sunday as the low pressure moves north-northeast.

The low pressure will start to get its act together Saturday off the coast of the Carolinas then rapidly strengthening overnight Saturday into Sunday off the coast of New England. While there are some questions about the track (i.e. how close or how far from the coast the low will track), models are starting to come into an agreement of the track of the low and that agreement suggests impacts will be felt from the Carolinas to Maine with significant impacts possible for some areas.

Right now, it appears the low will track in the “sweet spot” in which the low will track close enough to the coast for precipitation coastal areas and far enough off the coast for cold air to be pulled into the system for wintry precipitation. Initially, some rain is possible for coastal parts of the Carolinas overnight Friday into Saturday with snow wrapping into those areas and other parts of the Carolinas, and most areas farther north seeing all snow along the coast from Saturday through Sunday as the low tracks northeast.

While it’s too early to focus on the exact snowfall numbers, we have moderate confidence in which areas will be favored to see what type of precipitation and a general idea of how much. Right now, it appears this will mainly be a snow event for coastal areas from the Mid-Atlantic, and New England with some snow extending down into the Carolinas. At this time, half a foot to a foot of snow looks to fall for coastal areas of the East Coast from Virginia to Maine. Isolated higher amounts are possible for Southern New England into Maine. Extending farther, inland amounts will be significantly less with a tight snowfall accumulation gradient from the coast to inland areas. Farther south into the Carolinas, it appears some areas will see up to two inches of snow with the favored upslope areas of higher terrain seeing higher amounts. The higher terrain of North Carolina and South Carolina could see a few inches fall. Even far northeastern Georgia could see a few flakes. (Keep in mind, a slight shift in the track of the low pressure would cause significant changes in the current forecast)

As this system strengthens off the coast of New England, expect the winds to really ramp up for coastal parts of New England. Gusts higher than 60 mph are possible along with the heavy snow.

Travel issues and power outages are a concern!

A winter storm will deliver snow & ice to the Carolinas

Another winter storm will impact the Carolinas Friday into Saturday. The storm will deliver a round of snow and freezing rain even to coastal parts of the area. Some of the accumulations could be significant. Because of the expected impacts on travel and electricity, a Winter Storm Watch (blue) has been issued for much of the Carolinas. This will likely be upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning and Ice Storm Warning tomorrow. Watch the latest video forecast on the winter storm.

Eastern and Coastal parts of the Carolinas could see 0.25 to 0.50 inches of freezing rain with central Coastal parts of North Carolina receiving up to 0.75 inches of freezing rain. Snow is also possible with the best snow accumulations expected in eastern North Carolina where several inches may fall.

Freezing rain forecast
Snow forecast