• Bryan Norcross

Gulf disturbance just one part of a rainy weather pattern along the northern Gulf coast

Every year since 2015, a named storm has spun up in May in the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. And right on cue, Mother Nature is teasing us with a small disturbance in the northern Gulf.


This tiny swirl is not likely to amount to much in and of itself, but it’s surrounded by a variety of weather systems and together they are forecast to produce heavy rain for the next few days along the northern Gulf coast, especially from New Orleans to the western Florida Panhandle.



The swirl is what’s left over from a strong complex of thunderstorms that developed over the Gulf of Mexico last night. In big thunderstorms, the air rises pretty violently, and sometimes that’s enough to get a small low-pressure system spinning over the warm waters of the Gulf. Most May tropical system get kicked off by non-tropical processes, but have enough time over tropical waters and in conducive atmospheric conditions to develop.


In this case, however, the small system is caught in strong steering flow pushing it toward the Alabama or the western Florida Panhandle. It will arrive there late tonight or early tomorrow, so its window of opportunity appears too short. In addition, the atmospheric pattern is marginal and there is dry air and dust in the vicinity.


Small systems can be tricky, however. They don’t need much of a conducive patch of atmosphere to get going, so the National Hurricane Center is keeping an eye on it.


Winds will be gusty in the vicinity of the swirl when it comes ashore, but not dangerously so for people on land.


Thunderstorms with gusty winds, heavy rain, and frequent lightning have been prevalent along the Gulf Coast through the day, so the swirl and what comes with it will just be part of the stormy weather trend.


Current forecasts show a cold front finally sweeping the wet weather away late in the week.


Elsewhere in the tropics, nothing appears to be brewing.