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  • Writer's pictureBryan Norcross

Keeping an eye on the western Gulf while the tropical Atlantic continues dead as a doornail

A broad disturbance in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico is drifting toward the South Texas coast. It should make landfall tomorrow. There’s a slight chance it could consolidate into a tropical depression before it moves over land, so the National Hurricane Center is identifying a potential development area just off the Texas coast.

Whether it organizes into a depression or not, the main effect is going to be heavy rain. The entire state of Texas is exceptionally dry, so the rain will be beneficial if it doesn’t all come at once.

The moisture level in the atmosphere is forecast to be near record levels for August as the disturbance comes ashore, so very heavy rain is likely. In low-lying areas and when one thunderstorm cell trails after another, flooding could occur. The rain is forecast to be heaviest tomorrow into Monday.

On the other hand, the tropical Atlantic is so quiet it’s about to get spooky. I’m not ready to declare something weird going on yet, though the National Hurricane Center is forecasting no development into week, and the long-range computer models do not show any activity for the next 10 days. If that happens, we’ll start looking under the sofa cushions for a reason for the non-activity.

From a macro standpoint, the factors seem to be in place for an active hurricane season. The only thing “wrong” at the moment appears to be dry, dusty air over the Atlantic, but in late August, the disturbances coming off Africa normally become robust enough to fight back against the dust, especially in a La Niña year with warm ocean water.

We’ll give it another week before declaring that something weird is happening.


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