Overall activity in this still rather young Atlantic Basin tropical season has been pretty much non-existent so far, but it looks like the Gulf of Mexico will be the breeding grounds this week for tropical storm development. Low pressure will first drift southward to a location over the northern Gulf of Mexico over the next couple of days and then drift westward across the northern Gulf of Mexico and likely intensify into tropical storm status – perhaps even reaching hurricane status. All eyes from the Florida Panhandle to Texas should closely monitor this unfolding situation as heavy rainfall is likely whether or not there is a named tropical system (would be called Barry).
The sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are currently running at above-normal levels for this time of year and they are certainly capable of producing a tropical storm. Broad low pressure currently located over the Southeast US will drift southward to a position over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters over the next couple of days and then this system is expected to drift to the west across the northern Gulf. Given the favorable sea surface temperatures and expected favorable atmospheric conditions in coming days, this system very well could develop into Tropical Storm Barry by the end of the week as it likely edges towards the Texas/Louisiana border region. In fact, there is an outside chance that this system strengthens enough to reach hurricane status by the upcoming weekend.
Whether or not this system actually reaches tropical storm (or hurricane) status later this week, there will be several inches of rain from the Florida Panhandle to southern part of Louisiana and potentially into eastern Texas. Given the already well saturated grounds in the eastern half of the nation, any rainfall of this magnitude would certainly not be welcome news…stay tuned.
Meteorologist Paul Dorian