US Gulf Coast Could See Tropical Weather in Coming Days

Posted: June 12, 2021 9:27 am

Although the waters are calm across the Atlantic basin at this moment, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) are keeping their eyes trained on the skies for potential tropical weather development.

Western Gulf of Mexico the Center of Attention: The focus of attention in the coming days will be on the western Gulf of Mexico. This is the most likely place that a tropical storm may creep up, potentially threatening the Gulf Coast by the middle of the month. Should this development transpire, it could spell more trouble for an already water-logged western Gulf Coast.

The most likely time frame for potential tropical development will come between June 15-19. Should a storm intensify into a named development, it would be called Bill.

Favorable Environmental Conditions: While the potential of tropical development is not a slam dunk, meteorologists have been warning for weeks that mid-June would be a likely time frame for the 2021 hurricane season to really get started. Somewhat favorable conditions throughout the western Gulf of Mexico and the northwestern Caribbean are starting to transpire, making it more likely that a storm will be born shortly in this region of the Atlantic.

Water temperatures in the Gulf are hovering in the low to middle 80s. These readings are warm enough to encourage tropical development. The decrease in existing wind shear will also contribute to the environmental conditions needed to support storm development. If the other conditions work to encourage these storms to fire up, low wind shear will prevent the system from breaking up.

Lastly, the dust that comes off of the Sahara Desert and normally works to lower the risk of storm formation has blown farther to the south. This means that it will not be a factor when it comes to negating the risk of tropical development.

Potential Track: At this early juncture, it is too soon to predict where the storm would track should it even develop. Any potential storm could land anywhere from northeastern Mexico to nearly any place along the US Gulf Coast. Because steering winds are predicted to remain weak, any potential storm will likely linger over the area for some time. Where it would drift is unknown due to the lack of strong steering winds.

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Until more is known, everyone residing along the Gulf Coast from Texas into Alabama and into the Florida Panhandle needs to be intentional about monitoring the tropical weather forecast. Because of the potential of severe weather in the region, residents need to be ready for possible disruptions to the oil industry in the Gulf.

Regardless of if any named storms develop in the coming week, those along the Gulf Coast are likely to see significant rainfall out of the system. This is particularly concerning for communities such as Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Victoria, Texas. These areas were hammered with heavy rainfall throughout the month of May with many rivers still at major flood stage.

Development in the Pacific Ocean: The Atlantic basin is not the only area that may see tropical development ahead. There are two additional areas in the eastern Pacific that are receiving attention. The first area is a section of low pressure setting up south of Mexico. Numerous thunderstorms are springing up around this disturbance heading into the weekend with environmental conditions favorable for further intensification as the feature moves to the north.

The second feature is located farther to the west in the eastern Pacific. This disturbance is not expected to affect land even if it does intensify.

What About the East Coast: As of now, the East Coast looks to be relatively shielded from any potential tropical development in the coming weeks. A non-tropical storm is expected to stall out off the coast of the Carolinas in the next few days. While there is a low chance that this storm may take on tropical characteristics, this is not likely at this time.

Additionally, the current wind patterns would steer the development away from the US coastline with further weakening expected at that time. However, because of the presence of this off-shore front, strong surf conditions may erupt along the mid-Atlantic coast over the next several days. The front will also bring a widespread zone of rain and thunderstorms to much of the East Coast well into next week.