Tropical development expected in the Gulf Wednesday

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - For most recent updates on what will likely become Hurricane Barry, click here.


Wednesday Morning Update

Early morning in the northern gulf shows a disorganized mass of thunderstorms gaining a bit of a counter-clockwise swirl this morning.

The latest from the National Hurricane Center still calls for organization into a depression as early as today. Model data overnight has moved to the west somewhat, but the consistent track east of the Brazos Valley is thus far holding this morning.

Cautious optimism is still the name of the game. Model data should continue to get more reliable as this system organizes in the next 24 hours.

Tuesday Evening Update

Low pressure moved from inland portions of Georgia and Florida to the open waters of the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Thunderstorm activity flared over the Gulf early in the afternoon, but a fair amount of wind shear helped to squash that activity by early evening. Upper-level wind is expected to subside over the next 24 hours, which will aid in tropical development sometime Wednesday or early Thursday.

The latest out of the National Hurricane Center calls for an all but expected development of a tropical depression in the next 24 to 48 hour. In fact, the wording in this evening's update is for a depression to form by Wednesday evening. Tropical storm, hurricane, and storm surge watches could be issued along parts of the Gulf Coast by late Wednesday. Hurricane hunters are currently scheduled to fly in and investigate this disturbance Wednesday afternoon.

Forecast data has made two shifts Tuesday: more agreement for this tropical system to make landfall east of Texas -- at this time potentially over Louisiana -- and a more likely chance that this could become the next named storm of the season. If it is able to strengthen to tropical storm status by late week / the weekend, it would be named Barry.

Rainfall forecasts have followed the shift in data, moving the heavy rain threat away from Southeast Texas and the Brazos Valley this weekend. per NOAA's Weather Prediction Center, the latest forecast calls for the possibility of 5" to 10" of rain to fall over Lousiana between Friday and Sunday.

It is important to note, this system is not fully developed yet and there is still a likely chance that forecast data will shift as it does. While the outlook seems to favor Texas and the Brazos Valley, it is not time to write this off and let our guard down. Next update from the National Hurricane Center is expected by 1am Wednesday.

Tuesday Afternoon Update

The area of low pressure we've been watching over the past several days is finally over Gulf of Mexico waters, and will likely begin to organize soon.

The National Hurricane Center has upped the chance of organization into a tropical depression or stronger over the next 48 hours to 70%. The system will then move slowly westward in the short term.

Whether this system strengthens into a tropical storm or stronger or not, it looks like heavy rainfall and flooding will be the main impact as it moves slowly over abnormally warm gulf waters.

As mentioned earlier, the next 24 hours or so will be crucial in trying to more carefully pinpoint a track for this storm, but it's still not out of the realm of possibilities for the Brazos Valley to see some sort of impact from this system by the weekend.

Most recent model data continues to trend farther east, away from the Brazos Valley, but we're waiting for more consistency to bring our rain chances down for the Saturday-Monday time frame. Stay tuned.


Tuesday Morning Update

A tropical depression is likely to form by Thursday over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Model data has notably crawled slightly eastward overnight and early this morning, and we're noting a bit of consistency in an eastward track of what could become Barry in the next couple days.

As of Tuesday morning, most models are trying to focus on the LA/MS border, which is a bit of a crawl east from Monday's data. It's important to note we may see another flip (east or west) with new data this afternoon, as this system has not organized yet. This is the biggest reason the hatched red area (in the graphic above) is so largely covering most of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, with too much uncertainty at this point.

We are still a crucial day (or a little more) from getting reliable data on potential track and intensity of this system, but the short term model data has been encouraging for our weekend storm chances. We'll continue to monitor this system as it moves into The Gulf as early as this afternoon.


Monday Evening Update

7pm update from the National Hurricane Center brings no change to the odds for tropical development in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. A high, 80% potential remains over the course of the next five days.

What has changed with this latest update is there area that is being monitored in the Gulf. The red hatched area is any spot over the water that a tropical system could develop. As of this latest update, that now includes points just south of the Upper Texas Coast, roughly 150 to 200 miles south of the Brazos Valley.

The area of interest that could become this tropical system sits over Georgia this evening. By Tuesday that will move across the Florida Panhandle and toward the Northeastern Gulf. Upper-level winds are not overly conducive for development Tuesday, but could become more favorable by Wednesday or Thursday.

As of the current forecast, a depression seems likely but a tropical storm (Barry if it forms) is possible.

For the Brazos Valley's forecast there are still many questions because of the uncertainty in the intensity and track of this potential system. At this time, if there were an impact locally it would be in the form of rain by the weekend.

Monday Afternoon Update:

Afternoon update out of the National Hurricane Center has little change. The area of interest that is being monitored is currently located over Georgia as of midday Monday. Odds have increased to a 30% potential for tropical development over the next 48 hours.

The area to monitor is a wide once across the Northern Gulf of Mexico. The western edge of the waters being watched is roughly 250 miles south / southeast of Bryan / College Station.

Now that this area of interest has been given an "invest" name of 92L, tropical models can start to go to work on creating forecast possibilities. Even though this area of low pressure is over land and data is being collected from reporting stations, a better understanding of what this becomes and where it heads likely will not happen until mid-week. Upper-level wind over the Northeast Gulf are not conducive for tropical development through Tuesday, but weaken significantly by mid-week. That combined with warm Gulf waters will likely allow a tropical depression -- at the least -- to develop. A depression seems likely. A tropical storm (Barry if it forms) is possible.


Monday Morning Update: Newest update from the National Hurricane Center gives an 80% chance of tropical development (tropical depression or stronger) by the end of the week. Another thing to note: The "area to watch" has been expanded farther west, likely accounting for the somewhat consistent move westward in model data in the past 12-24 hours.

First and foremost: The impact for Texas, and more so the Brazos Valley, is far from certain at this point. There's too much inconsistency in model data at the moment. We should get a better handle in the coming days on exactly where, and how strong, this system will be by the end of the week.

For now, areas of showers and storms look more likely by this weekend, with a potential for some areas of heavy rain in the Saturday-Monday time frame. Needless to say, this will be a forecast to keep checking back on through the week.

Sunday Night Update: Odds continue to increase to 60% that development of a tropical depression is possible by the end of the week with little to no development expected over the next 48 hours.

Temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico range from the mid to upper 80s, and with little to no strong upper level winds to tear any developing system apart, ingredients continue to stay favorable for a tropical system to form.

Regardless of if something develops, heavy rain will be possible across the central and eastern Gulf Coast late this week and into the upcoming weekend. While impacts to Southeast Texas continue to remain low at this time, this does still warrant keeping a close eye on it as its general movement is forecast to guide the system westward before taking it back to the north.

Sunday Morning Update: Everything is quiet in the Gulf of Mexico Sunday morning, but the National Hurricane Center is monitoring waters near the Florida Panhandle for possible tropical development later in the week.

As of the latest update out of Miami, no development is expected over the next 48 hours. That potential increases to a 40% chance between Tuesday and Thursday.

The area of interest: a trough of low pressure over the Southeast US -- which initially started as a cluster of thunderstorms that moved through Kansas City and parts of Arkansas. This feature is expected to move toward the Northeast Gulf in the next few days. After that, upper-level winds could support some tropical development as it meanders around the Northern Gulf through the end of the week.

As of Sunday morning, there is no clear cut understanding as to how this system will evolve or where it will drift.

One extended forecast model drifts this area of interest out of the Gulf, north over Georgia, around high pressure in the Atlantic.

Another extended forecast -- pictured below -- leaves the disturbance over Gulf waters longer, giving it a better chance for some sort of development ahead of the weekend. Current path with this particular outcome suggests it could move toward Louisiana or Mississippi before drifting inland.

European Forecast Model

Should this storm manage to develop into a tropical storm, it would get the name Barry.

Due to the uncertainty in the evolution of this system, the Brazos Valley's forecast currently calls for a low 20% to 30% chance for rain next weekend.