Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.
Thurs. 19: As of Thursday, Grace has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it slammed into the Yucatán peninsula early in the day. Winds have decreased to 50 miles per hour as it moves west at a brisk pace.
As the storm moves into the Gulf of Mexico, it will strengthen again to a Category 1 hurricane, however, the track of the storm keeps it well south of the Rio Grande Valley now.
A variety of factors have pushed the storm further south into an area between Tampico and Veracruz. The storm should make landfall around midnight on Saturday. As of now, the RGV could see rain from the northern portion of the storm, however, totals are estimated to be between .25 to .50 of an inch through Friday night. Pockets of heavy showers are possible as well through the weekend, however, confidence is low.
Most of the impacts will be felt along the coast with a High Rip current risk through Saturday night and surf heights expected to reach up to 7 feet, possible higher creating dangerous swimming conditions. Coastal run up is possible as well.
RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The data on Grace is starting to pour in and so far this new storm appears headed for the east coast of Mexico south of the Rio Grande Valley later this week. Grace is currently down to a tropical depression as it interacts with the islands in the area but will bounce back to tropical storm force quickly as it heads over open water.
Currently, Grace is along the southern fringe of Haiti but it will keep chugging west for the Yucatan Peninsula and then the southwestern Gulf of Mexico as the week goes on. Most of the reliable forecast model data keep the storm on a southerly track because high pressure over the southern United States will prevent it from turning north toward the Texas coast.
Water temperatures and atmospheric conditions over the Gulf of Mexico, along the forecast track, seem favorable for tropical development so it is quite possible Grace will reach hurricane strength before making landfall Friday or Saturday.
The greatest impacts on the Rio Grande Valley will be the chance for heavy rain this weekend, depending on the storm’s final position, and aggressive surf conditions Friday through Sunday.