Tropical system headed into the Gulf of Mexico

60% development likely in southern Gulf over the next five days

June 18, 2017 - 1:49 pm
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WWL.com/AP Reporting

A tropical system near the Yucatan appears to be getting better developed. 

The system is expected to stay weak...a tropical depression or storm. That's due, in part,to dry air across the Gulf as well as shearing winds. 

But, it's uncertain where it will go. One model takes the system to our east, along the Florida panhandle...that would keep us on the dry side. Others take the system on a more west-northwest track toward TX. This would keep the disturbance to our south, but increase rain chances by Tuesday. 

So, the forecast for the early to middle part of the week depends on where the system goes. 

There are actualy two "invests" or areas of investigation now in the tropics.

Invest 93 is the one we're interested in, currently located just off the coast of northern Belize. Current satellite imagery continues to show robust but disorganized shower and thunderstorm activity in association with Invest 93. This thunderstorm activity will continue to bring downpours today and tonight to portions of Belize, the Yucatan Peninsula, western Cuba and northern Honduras. 

Invest 93 will drift northwestward over the next 24 hours, passing over or very near to the northeastern corner of the Yucatan Peninsula tonight before entering the southern Gulf of Mexico tomorrow. Once Invest 93 pulls away from the land mass of the Yucatan and into the sufficiently warm waters of the southern Gulf of Mexico, further development and organization will be increasingly likely. Strong shear that has been plaguing the Gulf is projected to weaken somewhat across the central and eastern Gulf over the next day or two. This lessening shear, combined with very warm sea-surface temperatures, will give Invest 93 an opportunity to strengthen and organize over the next day or two.

The ultimate track of Invest 93 remains uncertain, even as development appears increasingly likely. Computer forecast models often do a poor job of handling highly sheared systems that are either weak tropical systems or have yet to fully develop. Thus, at this time the degree and location of possible impacts from Invest 93 remain uncertain. 

The National Hurricane Center has tentatively scheduled an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft to investigate Invest 93 later today if necessary.

A second area to watch, Invest 92, is a tropical wave way out in the Atlantic Ocean. Right now it has a medium chance of development as it moves west toward northern South America and the eastern Caribbean Sea next week. It has a medium chance of developing in the next five days. We will track this one as well, but it is a long way off right now.

The outlook for the 2017 season is expected to be an above average season. The lack of a developing El Nino is now expected to increase activity.

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