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A possible tropical system in the Gulf? What??

I'm sure you have seen or heard talk today either on air or across social media sites about a possible tropical system (Invest 99) in the Gulf of Mexico next week. What you may have seen is just one run of the European Forecast Model. The model is developing a possible hurricane from poorly organized tropical wave as of this writing, and moving it from the Bahamas into the Gulf of Mexico.

ECMWF 12Z Tue., Forecast time: 7 AM, Wed. Aug 31
Currently, this tropical wave is located a couple hundred miles from the Lesser Antilles. It is getting better organized, but Hurricane Hunters flew into it today, and found the wave elongated (stretched out) with a poorly defined circulation. It is fighting off dry air and some wind shear. However, it is forecast to become better organized over the next few days as it moves NW over warmer waters and less wind shear. It will head toward the Leeward Islands, Greater Antilles and the Bahamas.

Please know that tropical systems are very difficult to forecast in their development stages, so when you take a look at the forecast model plots, take them with a grain of salt. Hurricane Hunters are going to investigate Invest 99 again on Wednesday. If they find it better developed, then a tropical depression could form. NHC is giving it a high chance (70%) for development over the next 5 days.

NHC 5 Day Tropical Weather Outlook
Tuesday Evening IR Satellite of Invest 99

Now if Invest 99 does develop, you will likely see a change in the forecast model plots.  The reason for this is that it will now get all the data from the Hurricane Hunters and NOAA planes ingested into the model runs.  This will help to give the models more accuracy.  Right now, there is not much data going into the models.  It is also worth noting that the GFS and Euro models have many ensemble forecasts too. This means that each time the model runs (GFS 4 times a day, Euro twice a day) there are different starting conditions put into the model, and you get a number of different outputs. Here is the GFS and Euro ensembles today..check out the HUGE spread in where Invest 99 could go just based off of these two models!

Euro 12Z Forecast Ensembles take Invest 99 from Mexico to out to sea in the Atlantic

GFS 18Z Forecast Ensembles take Invest 99 from East Texas to South Florida

Latest forecast models plots
My Thoughts: This is what I'm watching right now...the forecast models are showing a large area of high pressure located off the East Coast of the U.S.  This would cause Invest 99 to steer/move NW to W toward the Bahamas, Florida and then possibly the Gulf of Mexico.  This tropical wave will move into a more favorable area for development over the next few days over the Bahamas, and the trends are for it to become a tropical depression by the weekend. IF, and I say IF, this system were to develop and head into the Gulf, it would be a week away.

I know with the record flooding we had across SE Louisiana recently, the last thing we need is a tropical system and more rain.  

What you should do now: 

  • Realize it is the end of August, and it is very common for tropical systems to form this time of year.
  • Keep an eye on Invest 99 over the next few days. 
  • Watch my updates on WWL-TV each day.  
  • Stay calm and have a plan in case something comes our way.
  • Remember, the Baton Rouge area is going to be out of commission for evacuation purposes due to the flooding.  Many of the hotels are already full.
  • Please know that there is A LOT of uncertainty in the forecast, and expect plenty of changes.
Now is not the time to get overly excited, but just stay weather aware. -Dave


Anonymous said…
Thank you, Dave.....I wasn't aware...will be now
Anonymous said…
if you know it coming then leave that area dont stop to make hasted thinkof living and all will live....amen and be safe put your family frist....
Anonymous said…
Enough already...ready for fall, football and much cooler weather!

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