Tracking the Tropics – The Latest on the System in the Gulf
It's not uncommon for observers of tropical weather conditions to adopt a "wait and see" attitude when it comes to these kinds of storms. However, in the case of an area of disturbed weather in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this week, there has been a lot more "wait" and not a lot of "see". Unfortunately, it does look as if that is about to change and those changes will affect those of us who live along the Northern Gulf Coast.
The National Hurricane Center has upped the probability of tropical cyclone formation on this system from what was once 20% to now as high as 90% over the next five days. Usually, when the Hurricane Center goes with those kinds of odds you can bet there will be at least a tropical depression spinning up.
In its current state, the area of disturbed weather which could inundate South Louisiana with tropical downpours this weekend is not that impressive. It is basically a large disorganized area of showers and thunderstorms.
That satellite image from early this morning will likely begin to change by Thursday. That's when forecasters believe the system will begin to move to the north. By Friday evening the Hurricane Center believes a tropical depression or even a weak tropical storm could be centered just to the south of Louisiana's coastline.
The Hurricane Center doesn't publish a cone of uncertainty until an actual cyclone has developed. Since those cones are based on a specific center of circulation, which this system doesn't really have yet, it would be very difficult and basically irresponsible to project a landfall at this time.
Assuming forecasters are correct with their assumptions and this system develops further the key to gauging its impacts will be locating the center of the storm's circulation. As of now, forecasters believe most of the heavy rain and thunderstorms will be well to the east of that center.
The timing on the impacts of the system suggests that increased rain chances will creep into South Louisiana late in the day on Friday. There will be a significant threat of flooding rain and heavy tropical downpours during the day on Saturday. Conditions should start to improve by Sunday.
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