- A Caribbean tropical disturbance is likely to become a tropical depression or storm.
- This system could form as soon as Thursday.
- Interests along the U.S. Gulf Coast should monitor this system closely.
A developing low-pressure system in the Caribbean Sea is likely to organize into a tropical depression or storm as soon as Thursday and could threaten the northern or western U.S. Gulf Coast as a tropical storm or hurricane by late weekend or early next week.
It’s too early to know exactly what impacts this system might bring to portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast, but interests from Louisiana to Texas should monitor its progress closely until the forecast comes into greater focus. The National Hurricane Center says there is the potential for wind, rain and storm surge impacts in these areas by late weekend or early next week.
Ida will be the name given to the next tropical storm that forms in the Atlantic this season.
The disturbance is currently located in the western Caribbean Sea, as depicted by the red “X” in the map below.
This system has been designated Invest 99L by the National Hurricane Center, which is a naming convention used to identify features they are monitoring for possible formation into a tropical depression or storm.
Late this week is when forecast models depict a tropical depression or storm forming from this disturbance. That could happen anywhere in the red-shaded area in the map below over the northwest Caribbean
Tropical storm watches and/or warnings could be issued in advance of this system as soon as today for the Cayman Islands and western Cuba.
The forecast is less certain once this system reaches the Gulf, but one worth watching over the next few days, especially if you live along the western and northern Gulf Coast, from Louisiana to Texas and northern Mexico.
Steady strengthening of this system is possible once this system reaches the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. That’s because Gulf of Mexico water temperatures are plenty warm and upper-level winds could be favorable.
Exactly where this system tracks in the Gulf will be partially determined by where it eventually consolidates and develops a well-defined low-pressure system Thursday into Friday. That is still an uncertain factor at this time.
Another important factor is the position and strength of a ridge of high pressure to its north over the southeast United States. This high will be the large-scale steering wheel for the system, with its clockwise circulation sending it either northwest or west-northwest through the Gulf.
The bottom line is there is the potential for a tropical storm or hurricane threat along the western or northern U.S. Gulf Coast late weekend into early next week. However, it’s too early to be specific about the eventual outcome for this system and any potential impacts. Forecast changes are likely over the next few days, so it’s best to stay informed.
Now is a good time to ensure you have a hurricane plan in place in case this system becomes a growing threat where you live.
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