1:12PM October 16, 2019

INCREASING CHANCE OF TROPICAL STORM DEVELOPMENT IN GULF; LOCAL IMPACTS LIKELY… Odds are increasing that a tropical or subtropical storm will form in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico in or near the Bay of Campeche in the next few days. The National Hurricane Center suggests there is now a 50% chance of this happening through Saturday. Regardless of if formal development happens, this points to increased rain chances for parts of south Alabama and northwest Florida this weekend into early next week.

POTENTIAL LOCAL IMPACTS IN SOUTH ALABAMA & NW FLORIDA… Regardless of if this tropical disturbance acquires formal tropical or subtropical characteristics, heavy rain will be likely at times this weekend across our area. The greater chances of rain will clearly happen closer to the immediate Alabama and northwest Florida beach zones. Depending on the exact track of this developing system, there also could be gusty (30-50mph) winds at the immediate coastal areas, isolated tornadoes across the region, and potentially isolated instances of flash flooding. Significant wind issues inland are not expected, as this will likely be a fairly “weak” tropical/subtropical storm. “Weak” is subjective, and there still could be significant impacts closer to the coast, however.

LOCAL IMPACTS WILL LARGELY DEPEND ON TRACK… Most of the model guidance late last evening and this morning suggests that there is a growing chance that the center of this tropical system will either move over our area from southwest to northeast OR perhaps make landfall to our east in the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend region. It is too early to know exactly where this system will track, but that will determine quite a bit about what impacts any given area experiences. Stay tuned over the next few days as we continue to monitor this system.

INTENSITY GUIDANCE SUGGESTS TROPICAL STORM… Anytime we have a tropical system in one of the peak hurricane season months in the Gulf, there is always a chance we could have some surprises in store. Long-time viewers and readers remember the rapid intensification that happened with Hurricane Michael (up to category 5 status right before landfall). Hurricane Opal was also a rapidly intensifying October hurricane. The good news is I am NOT seeing anything to suggest that this system will become a hurricane before landfall. Could that change? Yes, and that’s why we monitor the tropics so intently. However, confidence remains high that this will be a weak or moderate tropical storm at the time of landfall in a few days. The high-end scenario points to a moderate tropical storm. The low-end scenario points to a tropical disturbance with quite a bit of rainfall.

CHILLY FOR TROY VS. SOUTH ALABAMA GAME TONIGHT… The South Alabama Jaguars travel to Troy to take on the Troy Trojans in football on this Wednesday evening. The game kicks off at 7PM CDT and will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Most of the rain and storms will have long moved out of our region to the south into the Gulf of Mexico by that point. I expect the game to be dry with chilly temperatures in place! Kickoff temperatures will be in the 61-64° range, although the wind out of the northwest will probably make the air temperature feel a bit colder than it actually is. Temperatures will decline into the 50s by the end of the game.

SIGNIFICANTLY COOLER TONIGHT INTO THURSDAY… The cold front moving by our region today will pave the way for winds out of the northwest at 5-10mph this evening. This will be a cool, dry wind that will rapidly lower humidity levels and temperatures. Some spots north of U.S. Highway 84 on Thursday morning may be in the upper-40s! I expect most of our area to be in the 50s for overnight lows both on Thursday and Friday mornings. High temperatures Thursday and Friday will be in the 70s.

FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL FORECAST… This forecast will greatly depend on the future track of the tropical system discussed above. If we get more rain and are on the eastern side of the developing area of low pressure (whether it is a tropical storm or not), there is a chance we may have to increase rain chances for the Friday night football games. If, however, we’re on the western side of the system, that would point to a potentially drier solution. For now, we’ll call it a 20-30% chance of showers and storms Friday evening with temperatures in the 65-70° range.

APP… If you haven’t already, be sure to download the free RedZone Weather app to keep up with all the latest information on the world of weather in south Alabama and northwest Florida. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download. Once you have the app downloaded to your iOS or Android device, be sure to visit the Alerts tab (lower right corner) and tap the large, yellow Alert Settings button to customize the alerts you would like to receive straight from me.

I’ll have another update about this developing tropical feature later this evening.Before that, if you want shorter, more frequent updates, join me in the RedZone Weather app for the latest. Have a nice Wednesday evening!

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