Tropical Development in the Gulf expected to bring rain

The Gulf of Mexico is being monitored closely for the potential development of a tropical or subtropical depression or storm early this week. A threat of heavy rain and flooding is likely to develop along parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast this week regardless of the intensity and track of this system.

Current satellite imagery shows vigorous shower and thunderstorm activity in the northwestern Caribbean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico in association with a broad area of low pressure in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

A well-defined low-pressure system is needed for a tropical/subtropical depression or storm to organize, and that hasn’t happened yet. Impacts will likely be the same for the Gulf Coast even if it remains a broad low-pressure system.

In the near term, heavy rainfall from Invest 93L will affect portions of Central America, the Yucatan Peninsula, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and western Cuba.

Most of the forecast guidance suggests the area of low pressure will track in a north or northwest direction through the Gulf of Mexico early this week. As this occurs, parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida will see abundant moisture from southerly winds on the eastern flank of the low, which will fuel heavy rainfall.

Another ingredient in this soaking setup is a stalling frontal boundary in the South that will also provide a focus for locally heavy rain.

What To Know

  • The heaviest rain amounts are likely to be on the northern Gulf Coast, including parts of Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle.
  • This swath could see 5 inches or more of total rainfall. Locally extreme rain amounts of 10-16 inches could occur depending on how the weather pattern evolves this week, according to the National Weather Service in New Orleans.
  • Flash flooding and river flooding are both possible threats.
  • Other parts of the South, including the Florida Peninsula, will also see locally heavy rain at times this week due to the abundant moisture and stalling front. Heavy rain could occur as far west as southeast Texas later this week.
  • Timing begins as early as Tuesday and continues through Thursday, possibly lingering into Friday.
  • A high risk of rip currents is likely along parts of the Gulf Coast. High surf and some coastal flooding are also expected.
  • Gusty winds are likely near parts of the northern Gulf Coast this week, particularly north and east of where the low tracks.
  • If this system does develop into a tropical depression or storm, it is not expected to rapidly intensify and is unlikely to reach hurricane strength.