Tracking the Tropics

Aug 30, 2011 3:42 PM by Rob Perillo

Tropical Trouble Brewing for the Gulf this Weekend

Long-term statistics dictate that Acadiana and Southern Louisiana averages an 80% chance of one or more tropical storms affecting the area in any given year.

And after the busy 2008 season with Gustav and Ike and two quiet years for Acadiana with minor disturbances (two almost of depression status last year), the statistics appear to be catching up with us.

An area of disturbed weather and high tropical moisture content, with very little organization at this time, in the Northwest Caribbean is expected to drift into the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday/Friday of this week.

The dominant ridge of high pressure that has kept much of the area in drought conditions and brought persistent, exceptionally high heat this summer, will be breaking down this weekend ahead of a cool front that may approach the Gulf States, but stall early next week.

This all sets the stage for favorable tropical conditions to develop in the Gulf with a modest tropical cyclone (meaning a tropical storm) possible developing this weekend, perhaps as early as Friday.

As so often occurs with weaker systems developing in the Gulf, steering currents are expected to be light and variable so a system lingering in the warm Gulf waters for several days is a distinct possibility.

As we all know, the longer these systems sit out there the better chance they have of strengthening, becoming quite disruptive and producing flooding rains.

All reliable global computer models are indicating some modest tropical development and very heavy rains for portions of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico, keying in on Texas and Louisiana coasts.

If these scenarios do pan out flooding rains may develop with the threat lasting for several days including the entire Labor Day Weekend.

In addition, our high resolution in-house model, FutureCast (pictured above) is indicating a tropical storm poised just off the Texas/Louisiana coasts as early as Friday.

On a positive note, drought denting/busting rains are on the way for many areas that have seen less than 50% of normal rainfall over the last two years...but as we say when it rains, it pours, and there will likely be too much in many areas if this system gets close enough to the coast.

While strengthening Tropical Storm Katia in the far eastern tropical Atlantic will get the headlines for today, the tropical headlines later this week and weekend will be with the expected Gulf of Mexico disturbance and the flood potential it will have.

The next named system in the Atlantic Basin will be "Lee", which could become generally a flooding rain threat if the latest computer models are correct.

Stay with KATC for the latest this week.

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