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National Hurricane Center: Medium chance tropical system forms in the Gulf

A short-lived tropical depression or storm could form before moving ashore the Middle Texas Coast Friday night
As of the 7pm update from the National Hurricane Center, the odds for development have slightly...
As of the 7pm update from the National Hurricane Center, the odds for development have slightly decreased as the system in the northwestern Gulf approaches the Texas Coast.(KBTX)
Published: May. 21, 2021 at 9:10 AM CDT|Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Eleven days before the official start of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, a defined tropical system may form in the Gulf of Mexico Friday.

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

As of the 7pm update from the National Hurricane Center, the chance for the disturbance in the North / Western Gulf of Mexico to strengthen further has slightly lowered as it approaches the Texas coast, but is still there. The difference from the afternoon update, this area of interest now holds a 50% chance for development, slightly down from 60% this afternoon.

Some notable points of interest:

  • Low pressure is still well defined but still limited in the rain and thunderstorm activity near the center of circulation
  • Winds 30-35 mph still noted near and east of the center
  • Environmental conditions are not particularly favorable for significant development, but only a slight increase in thunderstorm activity could result in further strengthening.

The system is expected to move inland along the Texas coastline overnight tonight. Regardless of additional strengthening before it does so, the overall message is still the same for how that impacts the Brazos Valley: additional rounds of scattered rain and tropical downpours will be possible through the upcoming weekend as plenty of tropical moisture sits in place. The severe threat is on the low end, but isolated flooding issues will need to be monitored given how saturated the grounds are from recent rains.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE

As of the 1pm update from the National Hurricane Center, the chance for an area of circulation in the North / Western Gulf of Mexico continues to hold a medium chance for development before making landfall around the Middle Texas Coast tonight. The difference from the morning update, this area of interest now holds a 60% chance for development, up from 40% this morning.

Some notable points of interest:

  • Low pressure is now well defined but still limited in the rain and thunderstorm activity near the center of circulation
  • Winds 30-35mph are near and east of the center
  • Potential tropical cyclone advisories may be needed as early as Friday afternoon

The afternoon update goes on to note that a short-lived tropical depression or tropical storm could form before this area of interest crawls out of the Gulf and inland tonight.

Regardless, at this time, the forecast for the Brazos Valley remains generally the same. A tighter circulation means the coverage of rain may not be as widespread Friday afternoon. Tropical downpours and lightning are still possible by or after 3pm through this evening. As the center of this system -- development or not -- drifts north somewhere between I-35 and Highway 77 in the far Western Brazos Valley, wind gusts 20-30mph are possible after midnight through Saturday morning.

FRIDAY: Scattered rain and a few heavy, tropical downpours are expected to move into the area from the south-southeast. While not constant rain, pockets of proficient rain producers will bring the chance for minor street flooding if they linger over one area long enough. Severe weather is not anticipated, however gusty wind and lightning will be a concern with any stronger storm that moves toward the north-northwest

FRIDAY NIGHT: Overall rain and thunderstorm activity should shrink in coverage, however, passing shower activity remains possible overnight. The center of this system is expected to pass somewhere between I-35 and the far Western Brazos Valley by sunrise Saturday. Should a tropical depression form, occasional gusts 20-30mph may be possible at times west of the Brazos River.

SATURDAY: If this area of interest becomes a defined system, it will quickly lose any tropical characteristics by early-to-mid morning Saturday. The center passes north into North Texas by afternoon and Oklahoma by the evening hours. As moisture continues to be pulled out of the Gulf of Mexico, on and off, passing rain and tropical downpours will remain possible from sunrise to sunset. Like Friday, this is not a wash-out type of forecast -- however, lightning and brief street flooding remain a concern for weekend plans.

The next update from the National Hurricane Center is anticipated to arrive by 7pm Friday. Should satellite data suggest a defined tropical system has formed, updates and any advisories may come earlier.

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE

As of the 7am update from the National Hurricane Center, “recent satellite imagery suggests that a low-level circulation is forming...over the Western Gulf of Mexico.” With this latest update, the odds for some sort of tropical development have been increased to a medium, 40% chance. The Hurricane Center continues on to note the following:

Regardless of development, the latest guidance suggests that this tropical system will not win any awards for being incredibly notable in the traditional, tropical sense. For the Brazos Valley, the general forecast remains the same as the weekend approaches.

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