TAMPA (WFLA) – Storm Team 8 and the National Hurricane Center continue to closely monitor the potential for tropical development in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center has increased chances of development up to 90% over the 2 days, and they have scheduled Hurricane Hunters to investigate the system this afternoon.
The broad area of low pressure has emerged into the northeastern Gulf and is slowly starting to show signs of organization. Gulf water temperatures in the mid 80s will provide plenty of fuel for the storm to organize and weak winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere will not hinder that development.
A Tropical Depression is likely to form by late Wednesday or Thursday as the area of low pressure slowly moves west through the northern Gulf, away from Florida. If the system reaches tropical storm strength, it would be given the name “Barry.” Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft are on stand-by to investigate the system on Wednesday if it shows signs of strengthening.
Models are now in fair agreement that regardless if the low develops, it will track west and pull some of the deeper tropical moisture with it. For much of the Bay Area, rain chances will come back down to normal towards week’s end as the deeper tropical moisture is pulled away.
However, the northern Gulf Coast should continue to closely monitor the forecast. This includes residents from the western Florida panhandle to eastern Texas because regardless of development, locally heavy rainfall is likely where it would move ashore. Some models are showing upwards of a foot of rain possible. The National Hurricane Center is also monitoring the potential for storm surge impacts from Louisiana to the Upper Texas coast later this week.