Tropical Development in the Gulf Next Week?

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The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season is underway, although it’s off a pretty slow start. But this might change next week as conditions become favorable for development.

Over the next 48 hours no development is expected, but we’ll continue to keep a close eye on Tropical Disturbance 9. As of 10:30CDT Friday, it’s located about 335 miles south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica (or approximately 13.0N/79.5W) with maximum winds between 20-25 mph. It remains very disorganized as it moves westward at 20 mph.

Model guidance continues to indicate tropical development in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico by early next week. There’s model support indicating this system will become better organized before reaching the Yucatan. On Monday, the disturbance should move into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and Bay of Campeche. At this point, conditions aloft would be more favorable for tropical development. Our confidence that this disturbance will develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm once in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is 40 percent.

Disturbance 9 will be in a more favorable environment for tropical development early next week. Image: ImpactWeather TropicsWatch

As of right now we think the disturbance will track to the west-northwest reaching the Yucatan on Sunday morning. Its forward motion should slow down tomorrow and by Monday it should move into the Bay of Campeche. At this point, conditions aloft would be more favorable for tropical development.

Regardless of development, steering currents would take this system to the west-northwest in the general direction of northeastern Mexico. By Thursday it should be moving ashore in Mexico.

Expected Impacts on Land
Yucatan Peninsula to Nicaragua: Showers/thunderstorms will increase across the area into the weekend with general rainfall amounts of 5-8 inches.

Expected Impacts Offshore
Bay of Campeche: Occasional squalls are expected to develop across the Bay on Sunday. The squalls should increase into Monday as the disturbance moves into the region. Wind gusts of 50-60 mph are possible as the squalls move through Monday-Wednesday along with locally rough seas.
Northwest Gulf of Mexico: The strongest squalls should remain south of the Gulf lease areas, with just the outermost rain bands grazing the southwesternmost lease areas late Wednesday and into Thursday.

Check out yesterday’s TropicsWatch Daily Briefing video here.

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