60% CHANCE OF TROPICAL STORM DEVELOPING IN GULF THIS WEEKEND… The National Hurricane Center continues to increase the probability/chance that a tropical storm will form in the eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend. There is now a 60% chance that a tropical storm will form near or just west of the Florida Peninsula this weekend as the tropical disturbance branded as INVEST 95L moves northwestward. There is high model agreement/confidence in the general idea that this tropical disturbance or tropical storm will move northwest toward northwest Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana in the days ahead. Unfortunately, we don’t know the specifics just yet. There could be impacts other than rain, like gusty winds at the coastline, isolated tornadoes, and coastal flooding, but we don’t have a firm grip of IF or WHEN these impacts will be possible just yet. Why? Largely because these impacts depend heavily on the ultimate strength of the system. There will be a chance of local impacts in south Alabama and northwest Florida from this disturbance or tropical storm. Let’s look at a few midday Wednesday notes…
UNCERTAINTY SCENARIOS BREAKDOWN… While there is quite a bit of uncertainty about specifics concerning INVEST 95L, we’re going to try something new today to convey this information to you. Let’s look at the high-end scenario of what would happen if the system is stronger than expected, the MOST likely scenario (mid-range of the model guidance), and the low-end scenario of what would happen if the system is weaker than expected. Let me know if you like this breakdown and if it is clear and easy-to-understand.
HIGH-END SCENARIO: STRONG TROPICAL STORM… The intensity models simply do not show this system rapidly intensifying into a hurricane at this time. Good news! Instead, some of the outlier, higher intensity scenarios point to a tropical storm making landfall along the Florida Panhandle coast as a moderate tropical storm with maximum winds offshore of 50-60 mph. Under this scenario, there would be a slightly higher risk of isolated tornadoes near the immediate coastal zones NEAR and EAST of where the center of circulation makes landfall. Gusty winds would be likely at the beach zones near and east of the center. Inland impacts would largely be limited to heavy downpours of rain at times.
MOST LIKELY SCENARIO: WEAK TROPICAL STORM WITH COASTAL IMPACTS… The most likely scenario of what will happen with INVEST 95L is that the system will continue to move northwest, perhaps crossing the southern part of the Florida Peninsula near Miami in a day or two then emerging over the eastern Gulf on Friday. Beyond that, the system is expected to move northwest toward the Florida Panhandle, south Alabama, and perhaps southern Mississippi and east Louisiana. Most intensity models ramp the system up to a tropical storm with maximum winds of 40-50 mph. This scenario would largely be beneficial for much of south Alabama and northwest Florida as the system would be a good rainmaker for our region. Other impacts could potentially include some coastal flooding, perhaps an isolated tornado threat depending on the strength of the system, and gusty winds at the immediate beach zones. No wind impacts inland would be expected under this forecast/scenario.
LOW-END SCENARIO: AREA OF LOW PRESSURE/DISTURBANCE… There IS still a significant chance that INVEST 95L never develops into a formal tropical storm. What could happen is the system remains sheared and weak as it moves northwest toward our area. Regardless of if formal development happens, we still would need to call for higher rain chances for Sunday into Monday. This scenario would feature scattered to numerous showers and storms with breezy conditions at the immediate coastline. Other impacts, like isolated tornadoes and coastal flooding, would probably be mitigated since the system would be weaker.
WEDNESDAY MIDDAY DISCUSSION – POTENTIAL LOCAL IMPACTS… This has not changed since the morning video update: There is growing confidence that we will have quite a bit of rain as we go into Sunday and Monday as this area of low pressure moves northwest. The latest model guidance suggests the potential exists for heavy rain at times both on Sunday and on Monday. Depending on the exact track, forward speed, and strength of this system, there could be a risk of isolated tornadoes, gusty winds near the immediate coastline, and heavy rain that could lead to flash flooding. Please check back with me over the next few days as we monitor the evolving specific risks (or lack of risks!) as this tropical area of low pressure continues moving northwest. I will have plenty of updates posted in the RedZone Weather app.
TROPICAL WAVES IN THE ATLANTIC… We are also monitoring two tropical waves in the Atlantic Ocean east of the Lesser Antilles that both have a low chance of developing into a tropical storm in the next 5 days. We will continue to monitor these areas of concern, but clearly, the disturbance approaching the Gulf of Mexico will take priority in our focus over the next few days since local impacts appear possible as we go into the early part of next week.
APP… Many updates will be posted throughout the day in the RedZone Weather app. 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.
I’ll have more updates later today in the RedZone Weather app. Have a nice Wednesday afternoon!