7:52PM July 8, 2019

TROPICAL STORM LIKELY TO FORM IN GULF LATE THIS WEEK… Confidence is now high that a tropical storm will form over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico in the next 3-5 days. If you have a vacation at the beach or are interested in the Blue Angels shows, see the detailed info below. What will likely become Tropical Storm Barry will move west across the Gulf with the center of the storm probably ending up somewhere along the Louisiana or Texas coast this weekend. That is the most likely scenario, at this point, based on continuing trends of the major global weather models. We note that forecast revisions are still very much possible and there is no doubt that this is a system we will need to keep a close eye on in the days ahead. If the most likely scenario verifies, that means that south Alabama and northwest Florida will have very little in the way of big impacts. There will be increased rain chances around this weekend with high waves and dangerous rip currents being likely at area beaches, but those two impacts will probably happen regardless of if formal development happens. That’s the latest summary. Here are some specifics…

POTENTIAL LOCAL IMPACTS IN SOUTH ALABAMA & NW FLORIDA… Higher rain chances will be likely Friday, Saturday, into Sunday as what will likely be a developing tropical storm passes well to our south. That statement is based on the latest guidance from all models and the National Hurricane Center. This could mean that a flash flooding threat may set up across the coastal half of our region. In addition, there is high confidence that dangerous rip currents will happen at all of our local Alabama and northwest Florida beaches. Rip currents have killed more folks in our local area than ALL other natural hazards combined since 1996. Most of the folks who have passed away due to rip currents are people from outside of our local area that don’t understand the dangers of rip currents. Coastal flooding will also be a concern in low-lying areas.

HEAVY RAIN & FLASH FLOODING POSSIBLE THIS WEEKEND… Our coastal counties (Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Escambia (FL), Baldwin, and Mobile counties could have upwards of 3-6” of total rainfall over the next 7 days. This could prompt a flash flooding issue in isolated spots across the region. Inland areas will likely have 1-4” of rain in total with isolated higher amounts over the next 7 days.

IMPACTS WILL INCREASE *IF* TRACK FORECAST CHANGES… Let me stress that the above-mentioned impacts may substantially increase if we see a track deviation or significant forecast changes, which at this point cannot be completely ruled out. Confidence is increasing in a westward track that would put the center of this likely tropical storm well to our south, but we aren’t “out of the woods” completely just yet. Be sure to check back with me over the next few days for the very latest!

MY THOUGHTS ON YOUR VACATION PLANS… I’ve had several questions about folks wondering about their vacation plans to our area beaches this weekend. See more details about the Blue Angels shows in the detailed paragraph below. I can’t give specific advice as to whether you should postpone your vacation plans or not, but what I can tell you is there is a high likelihood that much of the daytime hours of Saturday could have scattered showers and thunderstorms around. Rain amounts this weekend could top 3-4” in total from Friday through Sunday. If you can, I would wait to make a decision about postponing a trip until Wednesday or Thursday when more details are available.

BLUE ANGELS FORECAST… Like many of you, I am proud that the Blue Angels call Pensacola home! The big Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show is later this week into this weekend. Here’s what you need to know in terms of the weather forecast: Wednesday for “Breakfast with the Blues” at 8AM should be fine. Scattered clouds are expected but most of the pop-up storms will happen later in the day on Wednesday. Thursday will be the practice show at 2PM. Scattered thunderstorms are expected and it’s too early to know when and where those will happen. Friday will also feature a practice run at 2PM at Pensacola Beach. There could be scattered to numerous thunderstorms around. The main Blue Angels show is scheduled to happen Saturday at 2PM. Unfortunately, rain chances are high. It’s not a certainty that there will be rain and storms around, but it is a likelihood at this point. Be sure to check back with me later this week for an update on the Blues!

NOT UNPRECEDENTED STORM MOTION/DEVELOPMENT… Many people have asked questions about just how rare it is to have a developing area of low pressure moving from the inland areas of the Southeastern U.S. over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. “Home grown” systems like this are not uncommon as one might think. Weakening cold fronts often stall and will spin up a tropical system close to land. Hurricane Arthur in 2014 had a similar situation in its genesis. A tropical area of low pressure developed over land before emerging over the Atlantic Ocean and developing into what would become Hurricane Arthur. That’s just one example. There have been other systems, even in the Gulf of Mexico, that have developed due to a feature moving off land and over the warm waters of the Gulf. I think the difference here is people are seeing the Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook issued by the National Hurricane Center and more people are actually aware of how a tropical storm may form.

POP-UP STORMS & BIG TIME HEAT THROUGH THURSDAY… Scattered afternoon and evening pop-up thunderstorms will continue to be a daily fixture in our weather forecast over the next 3-4 days before we start observing a likely increase in rain/storm chances due to the likely tropical storm passing to our south. The storms through Thursday have nothing to do with the tropical feature. These will be the “daily deluge” of showers and thunderstorms that are primarily influenced/develop because of the seabreeze that moves in daily from the Gulf of Mexico. High temperatures will continue to be in the 90s with morning lows in the 70s.

SET UP APP ALERTS… Download the RedZone Weather app to continue to receive our constant updates. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download. Be sure to visit the Alerts tab (bottom right corner) and tap the large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to customize the alerts you’d like to receive from me. If you like a lot of info, be sure to toggle ON Low-Level Alerts.

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

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