Hurricane Agatha approaches Mexico; good chance Gulf or Caribbean system will form next week
It looks increasingly likely that some kind of low-pressure system will form next week in the extreme southern Gulf of Mexico or the western Caribbean Sea. Hurricane Agatha will dissipate over the tall mountains of southern Mexico early in the week, but upper-level spin and moisture with the system will make it over the mountains toward the Gulf.
About midweek, computer forecast models indicate that these ingredients will combine with an area of disturbed weather in the western Caribbean to create a broad area of low pressure straddling Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. What happens next is an open question.
If the conditions are right, these broad Central American disturbances can throw off tropical systems. We’ve seen examples of this the past few years. In 2020, Pacific Tropical Storm Amanda got absorbed into the broad Central American low-pressure circulation, and eventually Tropical Storm Cristobal spun up in the Gulf.
The atmospheric pattern over the Gulf next week is forecast to be pretty hostile to tropical development, so rapid organization of a strong tropical system doesn’t appear likely. But the consensus of the long-range computer forecast models is that something between a blob of tropical moisture and an organized tropical system will move toward the Florida peninsula about next weekend.
There are too many variables to know more at this point, and we probably won’t have much more certainty until the Agatha leftovers and the Caribbean disturbed weather are in place in a few days. For now, in Central and South Florida, plan to keep aware of developments later in the week.
Hurricane Agatha is on track to impact mountainous Oaxaca state in southern Mexico with damaging winds in coastal sections and torrential rain the mountains. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that areas in Oaxaca will receive up to 20 inches of rain, with dangerous rainfall amounts in surrounding states as well. Mudslides are an extreme threat.
Here are the Key Messages from the National Hurricane Center concerning Hurricane Agatha:
1. Dangerous coastal flooding from storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves is expected near and the east of where Agatha makes landfall.
2. Hurricane conditions are expected in the hurricane warning area in southern Mexico on Monday, with tropical storm conditions beginning there tonight. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the tropical storm warning area on Monday.
3. Heavy rains associated with Agatha will develop over portions of southern Mexico later today and continue through Tuesday. This will pose a threat of potentially life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides.