New tropical system expected to form in coming days. This one brings possible concerns to the Gulf of Mexico

Impacts somewhere along the Gulf Coast possible in the final days of September
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 2:01 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 8:53 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Fiona became this hurricane season’s first major storm Tuesday morning. A few hours later, Tropical Depression Eight -- soon to be Gaston -- formed in the North Central Atlantic. Now forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say there is a high chance another tropical depression forms in the coming days in or near the Eastern Caribbean.

Development odds have rapidly increased on a disturbance that has been given the title “Invest 98L” a few hundred miles east of the Windward Islands. As of the evening update from the agency, that potential is up to a high 70% chance by Thursday and a likely 90% chance by Sunday.

Forecast models are in tight agreement that this system will likely become the season’s next defined tropical system ahead of the weekend, likely forming in the Eastern Caribbean. As this area of interest drifts northwest -- formed or not -- it will have the opportunity to interact with exceptionally warm water not only at the surface but below in the northern part of the basin. As water is churned and brought to the surface, the higher heat content could provide the chance for this storm to rapidly strengthen before reaching the Gulf of Mexico.

Water is exceptionally warm not only at the surface but below in the Northern Caribbean
Water is exceptionally warm not only at the surface but below in the Northern Caribbean(KBTX)

EYES ON THE GULF COAST

Considering this system has yet to form a well-defined center of circulation, an understanding of where it may go once in the Gulf of Mexico still comes with a low degree of confidence. What is known is that this likely tropical system is expected to reach the Gulf of Mexico by mid-week and could impact portions of the Gulf Coast in the final days of September or the very first ones of October.

Two different forecast models attempting to predict the strength and placement of a tropical...
Two different forecast models attempting to predict the strength and placement of a tropical system entering the Gulf of Mexico by mid-next week(KBTX)

Forecast models early on are favoring the eastern side of the Gulf of Mexico for potential impacts as a deep dip in the jetstream moves across the Eastern US early in the week. Low-pressure systems typically follow other lows -- allowing the jet stream to pull this to the northeast.

Two different forecast models attempting to predict the strength and placement of a tropical...
Two different forecast models attempting to predict the strength and placement of a tropical system moving through the Gulf of Mexico by late-next week(KBTX)

KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST ON THE TROPICS AND INVEST 98L WITH VIDEO UPDATES IN THE KBTX PINPOINT WEATHER APP

However, should that dip in the jet steam move by too quickly, this tropical system may miss its ride and move into the Gulf of Mexico slower. This would allow for additional strengthening and possible impacts further west along the Gulf Coast closer to the start of October.

As of Tuesday afternoon, this is a potential tropical system to monitor and keep close tabs on in the coming days. The next storm to be named this season would be Hermine. More information is expected from the National Hurricane Center before 1 a.m. Tuesday.