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  • Writer's pictureBryan Norcross

Gulf of Mexico disturbance is likely to become a short-lived tropical depression or storm

The Tropical Disturbance in the extreme southwestern Gulf of Mexico was born out of a strong outer band of Hurricane Julia. When Julia’s circulation dipped south of the mountains that run down the spine of Central America, the cluster of strong thunderstorms were left behind over the warm Caribbean waters and Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. Now that cluster has moved across the Yucatán into the southwestern Gulf.

The atmospheric environment around the disturbance is forecast to become quite conducive for a tropical disturbance and possibly Tropical Storm Karl to form. After Wednesday, however, a pattern change will arrive associated with a cold front advancing across the Gulf of Mexico.

If the coming front is as strong as the computer forecast models predict, it will end the rainy season in Florida and usher in much drier air. The related jet stream pushing it along will also create a hostile environment over the Gulf for any tropical system. As a result, whatever becomes of the disturbance, it appears it only has a few days to live, at most.

The steering currents are currently very light over the southwestern Gulf, so the system is not forecast to move anywhere quickly today. The disturbance is caught between a high-pressure system over the Bahamas and a high centered over the Pacific offshore of Mexico. Which direction it will eventually drift is an open question.

The strong jet stream flow over the northern Gulf will prevent the disturbance from directly affecting the U.S. Although the mass of tropical moisture leftover from Hurricane Julia, which this disturbance is a part of, will spread across the peninsula of Florida ahead of the coming cold front.

On the current schedule, the change in airmass to a wintertime pattern will reach the tip of Florida Friday or Saturday. This won’t be a sharp cooldown. Later-in-the-year fronts will deliver that. But, the air behind this front will be noticeably drier.

The coming of a fall cold front often signals the end of hurricane season for the U.S. hurricane zone, the Bahamas, and the surrounding islands. Although there have been seasons when something freaky happened later in the year. Witness 10 years ago and Hurricane Sandy.

Still, every cold front that passes through Florida puts another nail in the coffin of the 2022 Hurricane Season for the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Storms can and likely will still develop over the Atlantic, however.

No other areas appear to be a threat to develop at this time.


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