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Forecasters monitoring southwestern Gulf of Mexico for potential tropical development

An area of disturbed weather over the western Caribbean could become the Atlantic basin’s next tropical depression or storm over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico by this weekend. As the system moves along, portions of South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley may be hit by another round of heavy rain about one week after a tropical rainstorm struck the region, AccuWeather meteorologists warn. The system was producing a mass of disorganized clouds,…



Disturbance in the atmosphere over the western Caribbean could develop into the next tropical depression or storm in the Atlantic basin by this weekend, affecting the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. About a week after a tropical rainstorm hit the region, AccuWeather meteorologists warn that portions of South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley may be hit by another round of heavy rain as the system moves along.

As of Tuesday, the system was creating a chaotic swath of clouds, showers, and thunderstorms over the western Caribbean. According to forecasters, this system may take a northwesterly course through the rest of the week thanks to the assistance of guiding breezes.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the storm will pass over parts of Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and southeastern Mexico. Despite the fact that the system’s downpours can cause dangerous flash flooding and mudslides, the interaction with land and hilly terrain is likely to prevent development in the short term.

By Thursday night, the disturbance may have moved into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz predicted that if the system “stayed over warm waters of the Gulf rather than crawling along the coast of Mexico from Friday through Saturday,” it could have time to organize, strengthen, and reach tropical depression or storm status.

AccuWeather predicts that by Saturday, this tropical disturbance will have weakened into a less severe system.

The potential for growth of the system will once again be calculated taking into account land interaction. It is possible that the storm’s path along the northeastern coast of Mexico will be enough to prevent it from strengthening.

Furthermore, the disturbance’s forward velocity should be considered. The system may not have enough time to organize if it moves too quickly over the Gulf.

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Showers and thunderstorms will likely move into parts of South Texas on Sunday and Monday, regardless of whether or not this system develops into a tropical depression or storm. Heather Zehr, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather, said that while the rains could help alleviate the drought in South Texas, they could also cause flooding.

On Sunday, a rainstorm that had formed in the western Gulf and was headed for Texas stalled just short of becoming a tropical depression. The southern part of the state received between 5 and 10 inches of rain from the storm that lasted through Monday.

Even though there will be a week without a storm, Zehr warns that the next threat won’t arrive until early next week, posing a “significant risk” of renewed flooding in urban and low-lying areas.

This weekend, the western Gulf coast is expected to experience rough surf and choppy seas, and further heavy rainfall is possible.

Once this developing tropical system moves past Sunday and Monday, it could travel anywhere from northwest along the Rio Grande River to as far north as central Texas the following week. These scenarios are possible if the system gains enough strength and stays organized for several days after making landfall.

The tropical storm that passed through earlier this week brought much-needed rain to much of central Texas but increased flood risk to areas farther to the northwest along the Rio Grande. San Antonio received less than an inch of rain between June 1 and August 16, whereas the average is about 6.50 inches.

According to the United States Drought Monitor report from last week, nearly 70% of the Lone Star State was in extreme drought, and nearly 30% was in exceptional drought. Nonetheless, after the recent tropical rainstorm, things may be looking up in South Texas.

Hydrologists from the National Weather Service predicted that the Rio Grande River at Foster Ranch, Texas, would reach major flood stage and crest near 23 feet later on Tuesday as a result of the heavy rain that fell in part of the Big Bend area between Monday and Tuesday.

When compared to the flood peak at Foster Ranch on July 10, 2010, the current crest measures 21.54 feet, which is higher.

Multiple groups of showers and thunderstorms from the southeast coast of the United States to the north-central Atlantic will be monitored for tropical development in the coming days. AccuWeather’s tropical weather experts say that strong mid-level winds may act as a strong deterrent against development in this zone and much of the rest of the basin.

One place far from American shores is seeing more favorable conditions for tropical development. Dan Kottlowski, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather and an expert on hurricanes, says that the atmosphere over Africa is changing into one where stronger tropical waves, the precursors to tropical storms, can form.

Because of the current weather pattern, tropical wave activity in the northern African deserts has been greatly reduced this summer. During the next week, it is expected that these atmospheric conditions will spread out over the Atlantic, which may lead to the formation of a tropical storm or depression somewhere between Africa and the Caribbean.

There is typically an increase in tropical development in the second half of August that lasts into the beginning of September. On November 30th, the Atlantic hurricane season will officially end.

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