Tropical Threat Intensifies for Gulf of Mexico
A tropical wave moving across the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico has forecasters at the National Hurricane Center concerned again this morning. The Hurricane Center has been monitoring this wave for several days. While it is still several hundred miles away from Louisiana's coastline. It does appear as if this system will play a part in South Louisiana's forecast for the majority of next week.
Here are the particular details of the system as of early Saturday morning. The wave is very close to moving into the Bay of Campeche. Once over water, the potential for strengthening is greatly enhanced. The Hurricane Center is suggested that the system will become a tropical depression as early as Sunday afternoon.
As of now, the track forecast suggests the storm will track right along the eastern coast of Mexico in a northerly direction. Here is where a few miles could make a big difference. If the "center" of the system stays over water, it will likely become a tropical storm. However, if that "center" remains onshore or very close to shore strengthening could be inhibited.
Just for clarity, we put "center" in quotation marks because there really is no defined center of circulation as of now. However, if the system does become a tropical depression or tropical storm forecasters will be better able to define that midpoint.
The GFS Weather Model does suggest that a tropical system will form over the western Gulf of Mexico by early next week. Regardless of the strength of that system, the effects that will be felt along the Louisiana coastline will likely come in the form of heavy rains and tropical downpours beginning as early as Sunday afternoon.
The Hurricane Center has upped the probability of the tropical wave becoming a tropical cyclone to 80% over the next five days. However, the potential threat from tropical moisture inundating the southern third of Louisiana over the next several days appears to be much higher than that.
The National Weather Service forecast office in Lake Charles has prepared this helpful graphic that offers a visual representation of where the heaviest of rain could fall. You can see that southwestern sections of Louisiana could see rainfall totals from eight to ten inches over the first part of next week.
The apparent bullseye for the heaviest rain appears to be in Cameron and Calcasieu parishes. However, the news isn't really that much better for Vermilion, Jeff Davis, Allen, and Evangeline parishes. Residents in those parishes might seen rainfall totals between six and eight inches. In the Lafayette area, rainfall totals in excess of four inches won't be uncommon as we move through next week.
The obvious issue that many of us will be contending with over the next week will be the potential for flooding. While the potential rainfall totals might seem impressive, I think it will be more about "how much rain happens how fast." A lot of rain in a short period of time that occurs over an area that has already been saturated with certainly pose a strong risk of life-threatening flash flooding.
In the meantime, you can use the beautiful weather we are expecting today to take care of some outside chores. I would suggest you clean out around ditches and coulees and make sure the storm drains in your neighborhood are free of debris like leaves and yard clippings. This will help the almost adequate drainage systems that seem to be a part of every Louisiana municipality cope with any potential deluge.
Is this forecast subject to change? It is. But I don't think the potential for rain in the area will wane at all. Next week is shaping up to be a soggy,sloggy, trek no matter where you live. It might be time to dust off your Delcambre Reeboks and put them in the car just in case you need them to get across a parking lot.
Meanwhile, it might be a good idea to stop in at the grocery store and resupply the liquor cabinet for more than a few rainy nights. Now, if you're interested in trying some new sipping material, might we suggest the following.
What Are the Signature Drinks From Every State?