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Thursday afternoon tropics rundown

Posted at 4:16 PM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-30 17:16:51-04

Tropics continue to show signs of increased activity, and in the Atlantic it looks as if we may be seeing Tropical Storm Florence soon. So we’ll get started with the biggest tropics update and then move closer to home where we continue to see an evolving forecast for the Gulf of Mexico.

Atlantic Basin

Wednesday Florence Satellite
Satellite image of a soon to be Tropical Storm Florence (8/30/18).

The formation of Tropical Storm Florence seems imminent and we may officially have our next named storm, for now it will have the moniker “Potential Tropical Cyclone Six”. This type of name has been in use for two seasons now and is used to allow watches and warnings to be issued before a storm has officially come together. It has no change on the impacts, instead it’s what happens when rigorous scientific detail meets rigorous bureaucratic detail.

Florence Track Wednesday
Track for Potential T.S. Florence (8/30/18).

Luckily this is expected to stay well out in the Atlantic Basin and won’t make a move to the coastal United States. There likely won’t be too many more updates in regards to this storm since once it passes the Cape Verde islands it won’t pose a threat to land. A few more waves look like they might be lining up across Africa, but again that’s normal for this time of year.

Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico Outlook
An outlook of tropical potential in the Gulf of Mexico (8/30/18).

The forecast a little closer to home continues to look interesting as we get closer to the weekend, but it’s important to remember there are still a lot of uncertainties. As mentioned in Wednesday’s discussion this forecast will change and there is a good bit of model uncertainty, that uncertainty continues on Thursday with the latest runs of the GFS and EURO (the two more reliable long range models). We’ll get into a brief model discussion a little later, but first this is the set up with which we’re dealing. A wave in the eastern Caribbean will move to the northwest through the weekend, currently (Thursday afternoon) conditions seem unfavorable for development. The National Hurricane Center only is putting out a 10% chance for tropical development in the next five days, and no chance in the next 48 hours. As the wave enters the eastern Gulf of Mexico, however, those conditions could prove to be more favorable. Several days of the EURO model initializing a tropical depression or storm has certainly raised eyebrows. The latest data, though, has continued a weakening trend which is encouraging to see. 

Thursday Afternoon EURO run
This is one model image, this is not an official forecast.

Compared to previous looks for this same time period this one looks much more like an open wave and has completely lost the closed low. This is a similar look to what the GFS model has looked like the last few days which could be a sign of consensus.

Thursday afternoon GFS run
This is one model image, this is not a forecast.

The GFS, while on a similar page to the EURO, still is a lot less bullish on intensity which removes almost any confidence in a forecast stretching out to the middle of the week. Hopefully as we get through the weekend and see how things play out we can start to get a better grasp of what all this could mean.

The big takeaway from all this is that although tropical development is still certainly possible it is far from a guarantee. It would signal, however, that there is some wet weather likely on the way for next work week. Since there is still so much uncertainty surrounding the forecast though it’s impossible to say exactly what types of impacts we’ll see. So we’ll keep monitoring the situation and updating you as necessary.