UPDATE: Gulf storm could be brewing

Posted on June 17, 2017 by Romi White

UPDATE: The National Hurricane Center in its 1 p.m. CST update increased the probability for a system in the Gulf to develop within the next five days to 90 percent. Click the link below to learn five things you can do now to be prepared ahead of the potential threat of tropical weather.

“A tropical system near Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula continues to be closely monitored for development and to bring building seas and downpours along the Gulf of Mexico coast this week,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski in a June 18 update. “Development chances will increase for the system to become the next depression or tropical storm.”

AccuWeather forecasters say warm surface temperatures in the Gulf could help strengthen the system in the next 48 hours.

“Exactly where the system fully organizes will determine its future track. The system may take shape over the central Gulf of Mexico and be pulled northward to the central Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Louisiana. Another scenario takes the system on a more northwestward track toward the coasts of far northern Mexico, Texas or western Louisiana. Landfall along the Gulf Coast would likely be around Wednesday or Thursday,” Pydynowski said, noting that seas will increase as the system develops.

Pydynowski said that as the system enters the Gulf tropical moisture will spread across southern and central Florida and could “trigger locally flooding downpours into Monday.”

“We continue to advise that all interests along the Gulf Coast of eastern Mexico and the United States should continue to carefully monitor the progression of this system,” Pydynowski said, advising residents along the Gulf Coast to prepare for possible flooding downpours, rough seas and locally damaging winds from a tropical depression or storm.

ORIGINAL STORY: The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a broad low pressure area over the Gulf of Honduras which NHC forecasters give an 80-percent chance of forming into a tropical cyclone over the southern or central Gulf of Mexico early next week.

The latest update issued at 1 p.m., C.S.T. states that the area “is showing signs of organization” and continued gradual development is expected as the system moves slowly northwestward across the Yucatan Peninsula during the remainder of the weekend.

However, according to Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, there are two “main scenarios” for the potential system at this time, including what he calls the “more likely” westward path, which would be toward northeastern Mexico or perhaps the southern Texas coast. “Other than typical summertime thunderstorm activity, conditions would not deteriorate over the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Florida with this westward path,” Sosnowski said.

The second scenario is formation over the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula which Sosnowski says would have a greater chance of moving northward. “Heavy showers and gusty thunderstorms with building seas will spread northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico in this scenario,” he said, pointing out the northward track might mean a weaker system due to disruptive winds at mid-levels of the atmosphere and slightly cooler waters. “However, even a weak or non-designated tropical system could unleash torrential rainfall and flooding.”

Additionally, the latest update says that although there may be some development of a tropical wave located about 1400 miles east-southeast of the southern Windward Islands during the next few days, conditions will then become less favorable for tropical cyclone formation.

Regardless of forecasts at this time, it’s important to monitor media sources for updates on weather conditions and forecasts, which can and often do change.

Following is a link to Santa Rosa County Emergency Management disaster preparedness information which can help you prepare ahead of the threat of a storm:

SRC emergency management disaster preparedness