9:08AM July 7, 2019

40% CHANCE OF TROPICAL STORM FORMATION; HOT SUNDAY ON TAP… If you’ve been outside this morning, you know the air is getting hot, humid, and becoming down right oppressive. Most spots will peak in the 97-99° range by 3PM. Pop-up showers and thunderstorms are likely to happen intermittently across the area this afternoon. Our focus has shifted to an area of low pressure that will likely develop in 4-5 days over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. There is now a 40% chance that a tropical storm may form in the northern Gulf and eventually make landfall somewhere along the northern Gulf Coast. Interests in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and northwest Florida should closer monitor the progress of this system over the next few days. Regardless of if formal development happens, this area of low pressure likely means increased rain chances as we approach the upcoming weekend. Let’s look at some of your forecast details…

LATEST ON POTENTIAL TROPICAL STORM… There continues to be plenty of uncertainty as far as what exactly will happen in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico later this week. The National Hurricane Center says this morning that there is now a 40% chance that a tropical storm will develop later this week. The European ECMWF model continues to suggest a weak tropical storm forming over the northeastern Gulf, perhaps south of Apalachicola, and looping back to the north with a landfall somewhere along the Mississippi, Alabama, or Florida coast. The American-based Global Forecast System (GFS) model continues to suggest a weaker low pressure area (with no formal tropical classification) forming near the Big Bend region of Florida and drifting westward into our area. The truth of what will happen probably is somewhere in the middle of these two solutions. 

POTENTIAL LOCAL IMPACTS DUE TO AREA OF LOW PRESSURE… It is prudent to include higher rain chances in our forecast for Friday and Saturday due to this developing area of low pressure. It is simply too early to know whether gusty winds near the coast and isolated tornadoes will be a concern. Obviously if a tropical system develops, those will be two more concerns, but for now, we will simply suggest higher rain chances. That very well could be the only real impact from this area of low pressure, especially if no formal development happens. There still is a good chance that no formal tropical depression or tropical storm forms.

THE CONCERNS OF MODEL IMAGES BEING SHARED… When making a forecast, it is critical to analyze many model solutions. This is why you’ll often hear me talk about the dangers of sharing model runs on social media. Usually, clickbaiters and fear mongers will post an image from ONE run of ONE model. The problem with this is ONE model is “one ingredient” in a forecast. Just like a recipe for chocolate chip cookies calls for 5-8 ingredients, a forecast calls for reviews of 5-8 models of multiple runs. Please join me in not sharing bad info… That just feeds the trolls and hype machine.

QUITE HOT TODAY & ON MONDAY… Temperatures are in the mid-90s this afternoon across the local area. We note that the heat index values are in excess of 100 degrees in some spots across the region. Air temperatures are expected to peak around 98° this afternoon, meaning some spots could have a heat index above 105° by 3PM. Keep cool if you’re outdoors today! This will be the trend on Monday as well with excessively high heat and humidity levels.

SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS TODAY AND INTO THIS WEEK… While the tropical development is stealing the spotlight in the weather headlines, don’t forget about the potential this afternoon/evening and in each of the next few afternoons and evenings for scattered showers and thunderstorms. Widespread severe weather is not expected, but very heavy rain, lots of lightning, and gusty winds may accompany the stronger storms.

See all of the details and graphics in your Sunday #rzw forecast video… Have a nice afternoon and evening! My next forecast video will be posted by 7:15AM Monday morning. I will have updates as needed today in the RedZone Weather app. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download.

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