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Tropical Update 2013: TS Erick Nearly A Hurricane;Invest 94L A Wet Gulf Concern

By: hurricaneben , 1:13 AM GMT on July 06, 2013

The tropics are slowly but steadily picking up in activity with a strengthening Tropical Storm Erick close to hurricane strength and a developing Invest 94L drenching much of the US Gulf Coast and poised to bring its rounds of heavy tropical downpours to the Texas coastline this weekend. Meanwhile, is there something brewing way out by the Cape Verde? In this blog post, I will break down the impacts and anticipations with each of these systems.

TS Erick
Let's begin with Tropical Storm Erick which is steadily undergoing a strengthening phase--winds are now up to around 70 MPH and any additional strengthening could easily bring it up to hurricane status. It is projected to do so overnight but doesn't have much time to strengthen any further from that--it should hit much cooler SSTs as early as Sunday, making way for a steady weakening phase. Heavy squalls are approaching the SW Coast of Mexico and more should make their way ashore but just like the past 2 hurricanes (Cosme and Dalila), we will see yet another close call with the worst staying (barely) offshore. Rainfall of 3 to 5 inches, with isolated amounts near 8 inches, capable of producing locally significant flash flooding should probably be the most formidable hazard. Gusty winds and rough surf are all secondary hazards in comparison to the flash flooding risk. It doesn't have to come ashore to cause damage--Cosme triggered dozens of mudslides and landslides (some of which blocked highways), flooded buildings, brought down many trees and killed a total of 3 people yet that stayed well offshore. Erick should come closer to land than Cosme did but is also quite smaller in size so we cannot rule out similar impacts either, the best thing to do is stay prepared.

Invest 94L
This one is weaker and less organized, not even a tropical cyclone quite yet, but poses an overall flooding threat close to Erick's extent. This is the same disturbance in the Gulf Of Mexico I've been discussing for the past couple of days. Tropical rainbands associated with the large disturbance has triggered flash flooding and road closures across Alabama and the Florida Panhandle over the past few days, no reports of major structural damage fortunately. Substantial flooding rainfall is poised next to affect SE Texas/SW Louisiana this weekend. An additional 4-5 inches of rainfall may impact the NW Florida coastline through early Tuesday with similar but slightly lower amounts for the Lake Charles LA area. Organization has increased and we may see some additional development and more may occur but should remain at a slower pace. A northward motion should bring 94L near a Galveston landfall by Sunday or Monday and there is a decent chance (we cannot rule out) that we may see a TD or weak TS briefly develop before landfall. Whether or not this system organizes to that extent, the impacts should remain about the same--heavy flooding rainfall, higher seas and occasionally windy conditions. NHC gives this one a 20% chance of TC formation by Sunday evening.

Atlantic AOI
Convection near the Cape Verde Islands has been showing signs of organization. Model consensus is split on either recurving it or taking it towards the Northern Lesser Antilles by this time next week. NHC gives it a rather slim 10% chance of TC formation by Sunday evening and that's mostly due to unfavorable upper level winds and higher shear in that region. If it takes the Lesser Antilles path, more significant development is much more likely.

As TD Dalila tears apart and heads out to sea, this wraps up this blog post. Check in for tomorrow's latest.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Will devote this hurricane season to provide up-to-the-minute, basic information when a tropical system is threatening land. Both basins included.

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