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Watching Invest 99 closely as it gets better organized in the Caribbean

I'm still keeping a close eye on how Invest 99 develops. Hurricane Hunters find that #Invest99 still lacks a well-defined circulation, but it's producing tropical-storm force winds in squalls over the Northern Leeward Islands. However, this system could become a tropical storm or tropical depression at any time during the next couple of days. Conditions could become more favorable for development when the system is near the Bahamas by the weekend. At the moment it is a broad (large) area of low pressure. If there is evidence that it does develop a closed low, then we could have a tropical depression or storm later today or Thursday.  

It is currently going through some dry air and wind shear, so the conditions are not very favorable for significant development over the next couple of days.  Right now, the bulk of the thunderstorms are not wrapping around anything.  They are getting blown off to the SE.  However, in the next few days the system will move out of the dry air and wind shear as it moves NW into the Bahamas.  

Please know that it is very difficult to forecast developing tropical systems.  When you take a look at the latest forecast model plots, take them with a grain of salt.  Until this broad area of low pressure forms into something, the models will only have limited data.  Every time the Hurricane Hunters fly into it, all of the new data will get ingested into the model runs.  This will give them better accuracy on where the storm could go.  

Now there have been a number of social media posts showing a storm in the Gulf of Mexico next week.  While one main model, the European (ECMWF) is showing that, many other models are not.  The Euro continues to show a tropical system in the Gulf, but it can't decide on where it may make landfall.  The GFS has shown possible landfalls on either side of the Florida Peninsula.  Below are images of the forecast models for 1 PM next Wednesday, August 31. You can clearly see the two models DO NOT agree on where Invest 99, or what is develops into, will go.

Euro 8/24/16 0Z Run: Forecast time: 1 PM Wednesday, August 31

GFS 12Z 8/24/16 Run: Forecast time: 1 PM Wednesday, August 31

Could this move across South Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico? Yes. But, it is not a certainty. If it does, it could wind up anywhere from Brownsville, TX to Panama City Beach by the middle of next week. Needless to say, we will continue to watch it closely.  By the way...the last hurricane to make landfall in the United States was Hurricane Arthur on July 4, 2014.  

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.

Here is my latest video forecast: 

Again, it is not the time to get overly excited about this, but just stay weather aware. It is the end of August, and historically we are in the Prime for tropical systems to come toward Louisiana.  -Dave


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