8:34PM May 18, 2018

TROPICAL DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE IN SOUTHERN GULF LATE NEXT WEEK… There is a small, but growing, chance that we could see the first tropical depression or tropical storm of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season late next week. While there are still MANY uncertainties, consistent model data continues to support the idea of some tropical mischief in the southeastern Gulf late next week. I’ve had several questions today about potential cruises/vacation plans. Again, plenty of uncertainty this far out, so we must take this with a proverbial grain of salt. Let’s talk about what we do know…

CONSISTENT MODEL IDEA… For days now, the Global Forecast System (GFS) has been vehement on the idea of developing a tropical system in the western Caribbean Sea and southern Gulf of Mexico. The GFS, for days, had the system all over the board, in terms of where it ultimately ended up. There’s still no concrete solution of where this system will end up. The ECMWF (Euro) model has also hinted in several of the past few runs of a tropical system developing in this region, thus why I’m comfortable enough at least mentioning the potential.

SEA SURFACE TEMPS IN GULF… We note much of the Gulf of Mexico has sea surface temperatures (SSTs) near 80°. Typically, tropical systems need SSTs of near 80° to form. The good news is much of the northern Gulf remains near 80° and not any higher.

BEYOND THAT, UNCERTAINTY… No one, and I mean absolutely no one, knows IF this system will, indeed, materialize into a tropical storm and threaten the United States. Is that a small possibility as of now? Yes, but there’s been low consistency as to where the system will ultimately end up (both on the GFS and Euro). I would suggest everyone from Louisiana all the way to North Carolina keep an eye on this system. No need for fear, panic, or anxiety as no one knows if this system will develop or where it will end up, however the idea is there for a minimal tropical storm potential in the southeastern Gulf next week.

NOT INDICATIVE OF ACTIVE SEASON… If this tropical system formed, it would likely do so (based on latest model trends, anyway) outside of the official hurricane season. One question I get frequently is IF we have activity outside of or in the early part of the hurricane season, does that mean the season will be quite active? The answer is no, not necessarily. “Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.” Just because we start off active doesn’t mean the entire system will be active.

SOCIAL MEDIA HYPESTORM AHEAD… Think back to just a few weeks ago when the fear mongers and social media hype machine went wild over the potential for a “late May hurricane potential.” I can just about guarantee you’re going to see out of control loons posting supposed “exact tracks” and outlandish cones suggesting where this system will end up. Again, the truth is, we don’t have a firm grip just yet of anything concrete. What we know at this point is there is a growing consensus that a tropical storm could form/move across the southeastern quadrant of the Gulf of Mexico late next week. Please join me in not sharing bad info… That just feeds the trolls and hype machine.

CHANGE PLANS? NOT YET… For everyone who has been asking about changing cruise/vacation plans, my response remains “wait and see,” for now. We simply don’t have enough good information to suggest anyone should cancel any plans because of this.

APP… I’ll have more details in the days ahead here in our updated version (2.11) of the RedZone Weather app. Be sure to turn ON “Medium-Level Alerts” for the latest information about this system by visiting the Alerts tab (bottom right corner) and tapping the large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to customize which alerts you would like to receive from me.

Let me know if you have specific questions. Have a great evening!

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