HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – This past week the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season has awoken from its month-long slumber with Fred, Grace, and another tropical wave near Bermuda.
With Fred in the eastern Gulf of Mexico moving towards the Florida Panhandle, eyes are shifting the Tropical Depression Grace.
Grace was downgraded on Sunday from a tropical storm back to a depression, but do not let that fool you. The official National Hurricane Center track takes Grace in the general direction the Rio Grande Valley. Does that mean it is coming to the RGV? That answer isn’t so cut and dry.
Like Fred, Grace will be battling mountainous terrain in Hatti and Cuba before reaching the Gulf. We saw this almost completely destroy Fred just this past week. One of the big keys is what will the condition of Grace be once the storm enters the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday/Thursday.
The next question is how strong is the high pressure ridge to the north and east of Grace next week? A stronger area high pressure ridge will push Grace south of the Rio Grande Valley towards Mexico. A weaker high will allow Grace to move north towards East Texas or Louisiana. If the high is somewhere in the middle, the track could be closer to the Coastal Bend or South Texas.
The recent spaghetti models show well all the three options based on the strength of the high pressure. So what does this all mean?
Well, what is now Tropical Depression Grace is heading towards the Gulf of Mexico. The Caribbean Islands will weaken and disrupt Grace over the next few days. The strength of Grace on Wednesday/Thursday and the strength of the high pressure ridge will impact the exact track. Either way, we could see increased tropical moisture next weekend. How much depends on the track of Grace. So, have a plan. It is hurricane season anyway. It is never a bad time to review your hurricane plan.