Tropical weather could be headed to the central Gulf Coast early next week

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Posted at 6:51 AM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 08:11:13-04

The last few days we've been talking about the early rumblings in the tropics and on Tuesday afternoon that rumbling started to become a roar as a new set of model data started to arrive.

Residents along the entire western and central Gulf of Mexico need to start monitoring the forecast closely as we go through the end of the week and into the weekend.

As is always the case in the early days of the forecast process there's a lot of nuance and a lot to keep in mind when it comes to longer range forecasting, so instead of throwing up a few models it seems like a better idea to go a little further in depth.

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The reason for the new concern in the tropics is a disturbed area in the Caribbean that is showing some signs of organization and will be getting into an area with favorable conditions for further development.

It's important to remember that as of Wednesday morning there is still no official storm and while models have been consistent in creating a tropical system over the coming days they will struggle until there is an actual center of circulation where they can focus.

Placing that low is very important because small changes in the placement often lead to big changes in the overall track, which you can see by taking a look at what is known as the ensemble models.

This is simply the same model changing the initial placement of the low and seeing how it changes the overall forecast giving you a range of different possibilities, from there you look for where some of those models develop clusters to get an idea of the higher possibility outcomes.

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The above images are examples of two different ensembles, one for both the GFS and the EURO, and you can see without that defined low how much of a spread there is in possible outcomes.

It's worth bringing this up again because it is very important to remember that absolutely nothing is currently set in stone, and that one should anticipate changes to the forecasts over the coming days.

Keeping that in mind we can dive into some of the typical model projections and what they mean for Acadiana, focusing as we typically do with the GFS and EURO.

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These two models are fairly similar with a couple of key differences, the first being the timing with the EURO about 12 hours faster than the GFS along with being a slightly weaker storm.

What is worth noting is that there has been a consistent shift with the GFS in regards to track, Tuesday morning the model was predicting a landfall in Mexico, in the afternoon Texas, and even Wednesday morning we've seen it slide from Sabine Pass to Vermilion Bay.

This is the kind of trend we will need to monitor to see if it continues to slide to the east or if it starts to stay consistent from run to run in one location.

On the other hand the EURO has been a little more consistent and was the first model that started the trend up the Texas coast, but has remained consistently the weaker storm of both solutions, and has even started to slide back westward.


Intensity is much trickier to pin-point, especially this far out, but most models are pretty bullish on the storms capability of hitting hurricane strength and this time of year all the ingredients for a hurricane are in place.

It is worth pointing out that the HWRF model takes the storm all the way to a Category 5 storm in the above graphic, but remember that that particular model is notorious for coming in way too hot especially this early in the forecast period.

We're certainly in the area of concern right now and need to monitor this storm closely the next several days, as does everyone from the central Texas coast to the Florida Panhandle.

Forecasting is a process, it's like putting a puzzle together where you only get a few pieces at a time and the final picture is constantly changing.

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We are in the phase of the process where we are monitoring for trends and watching to see some kind of model agreement.

The trends we'll be looking for the closest, is the trend to the east going to continue or is it going to be a little more consistent coming onshore in central Louisiana.

It is time to start reviewing that hurricane plan and be prepared to put it into action this weekend if we see more model consistency over the next several days.

Remember it's not time to panic, it's time to make sure that you're prepared and to keep a very close eye on the situation and stay up to date with all forecast details.

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Those that are curious, we have reached the "I" storm which will be Ida although it is unknown if this particular one will be Ida or Julian as there's another mid Atlantic storm that may take Ida first.

As things change through the week we'll continue to bring you everything we know, and will be here to guide you through the entire forecast process.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

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