TROPICAL DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE IN GULF NEXT WEEK… There is a small, but increasing, chance that there could be yet another tropical storm developing in the Gulf of Mexico in the latter half of the upcoming week. Important: There are still many, many uncertainties as to what could happen, and there’s simply a lot that we don’t know just yet. With that said, we’re now within 7 days of a potential tropical storm forming, and the data has been consistent enough that it warrants me at least mentioning it publicly.
GFS ON BOARD; OTHER MODELS NOT SO MUCH… Think back to a few weeks ago. On May 18, we mentioned the low-end possibility, at the time (here), of a tropical storm forming in the southern Gulf. That ended up being what would become Subtropical Storm Alberto. The same model that handled Alberto decently well (GFS) is now consistently indicating that there could be a weak to moderate tropical storm in the central Gulf of Mexico by Thursday (June 14) of next week. We note that the ECMWF (Euro) model has no indication of a tropical storm in the same timeframe. Several other, lower profile, weather models do have a low-end potential of a tropical system, or tropical moisture moving in from the Gulf next week.
MAJOR UNCERTAINTY FOR NOW… Absolutely no one, and that includes me and the entire weather enterprise, can say for sure a) whether this system will develop into a tropical storm or hurricane and b) where the system ultimately ends up if it does develop. I strongly suggest that everyone along the Gulf of Mexico coastline keep an eye on this developing system over the next few days. There is absolutely no cause 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 tropical storm to potentially form in the southern Gulf next week.
SLIGHTLY WARMER GULF WATER TEMPS… Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are generally always on rise during the month of June – this year being no exception. Most buoys and ships offshore are reporting sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico between 81° and 86°. SSTs are warmer than a few weeks ago when Alberto happened. Warmer SSTs generally help fuel storms, but there are many other factors that determine strength of a tropical storm/hurricane that can’t be accurately assessed this far in advance, like atmospheric shear and available moisture. We’ll get a better read on those things over the next few days.
DON’T CHANGE PLANS YET… Subtropical Storm Alberto was a good lesson/reminder for me and for everyone in this business in that there can and will be surprises with tropical systems. The forecast track of Alberto ended up being shifted to the east of our local area, for the most part, leaving most of us without any big impacts. Confidence remains LOW on development potential and where the system will go, thus no one needs to cancel plans for next week just yet. We will be in a “wait and see” pattern likely through Monday, at the earliest.
HYPE MONGERS TO CONTINUE… I’ve seen a crazy, untruthful image making the rounds today and over the last few days supposedly showing a “category 3 hurricane striking New Orleans.” That image is fake. Plain and simple. As I said during the Alberto event, 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 grasp just yet of where this system will ultimately end up or if it will develop into a strong storm. 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.
APP… I’ll have more details in the days ahead here in the 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.
While specifics remain sparse as of now, let me know if you have specific questions and I’ll do my best to answer. More info will be posted here in the RZW forecast video tomorrow (Friday) morning at 7:15AM. See you then!