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Gulf of Mexico Tropical Disturbance Headed Towards Texas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:17 PM GMT on July 05, 2013

A tropical disturbance over the Central Gulf of Mexico is headed northwest towards Texas at 5 - 10 mph. Satellite loops show a modest area of disorganized heavy thunderstorm activity associated with the disturbance, which is suffering from high wind shear of 20 - 30 knots due to strong upper-level winds from a trough of low pressure over the Western Gulf of Mexico. Dry air from the trough is also interfering with development. The upper-level trough is expected to weaken and pull to the north over the weekend, potentially bringing slightly more favorable conditions for development over the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday and Sunday. The atmosphere will moisten and wind shear may fall to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots. The disturbance should move northwest, arriving at the Upper Texas coast by Sunday morning. Heavy rains of 1 - 3" can be expected along the Upper Texas and Western Louisiana coasts Sunday morning through Monday morning. None of the reliable forecast models predict that the disturbance will develop. In their 8 am EDT July 5 outlook, NHC gave the disturbance a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression or tropical storm by Sunday.

Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the tropical disturbance over the Gulf of Mexico. Image credit: NOAA.

Elsewhere in the tropics
A large upper-level cold-cored low pressure system a few hundred miles northeast of Puerto Rico will move west over the next dew days, arriving in the Bahamas by Sunday and South Florida by Tuesday. Although the models do not show that this low will will acquire a surface circulation and develop tropical characteristics, it will be worth watching for development.

In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Erick is brushing the coast of Mexico and intensifying, and is expected to bring heavy rains of 3 - 5 inches to Acapulco. The core of the storm is currently expected to remain offshore. Erick's formation on July 4 comes eighteen days earlier than the usual formation date of the season's fifth storm in the Eastern Pacific, July 22.

Jeff Masters


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