HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – Over the last week, the Valley Storm Team has been monitoring the potential of a tropical system developing in the Bay of Campeche and moving northward. As we enter the weekend, details of that potential are now starting to come together. While specific details are still unknown, we now know a tropical depression or greater is likely to form in the Gulf of Mexico next week. If the storm does reach tropical storm strength or greater it would be named “Bill.”
The area of low pressure responsible for the storm, is actually in the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Basin right now. It currently has 50% chance of forming into a tropical depression before crossing southern Mexico into the Bay of Campeche, but it is running out of time to do so. This area will then fester in the Bay of Campeche through early next week. The question of where it goes will then depend on a high pressure ridge to the east, but this ridge is trending on the weaker side.
We put out this graphic earlier this week discussing the high pressure ridge and it’s effect on the track of a potential storm. A weaker ridge of high pressure would all but eliminate track “A” and significantly decrease to the chances of track “B”. Track “C” is currently the most likely track, towards the central Gulf. This track has potential for direct impact between Port Arthur, TX, Lake Charles, LA, New Orleans, LA, Gulfport, MS, and Mobile, AL. This also means, other an issue with rip currents, higher surf, beach erosion, and chance for slightly increased shower activity as the storm pushes north, the Rio Grande Valley will be spared of direct impacts of a landfalling tropical system.
As for a timeline of events, the are of low pressure will be entering highly favorable conditions for development in the Bay of Campeche over the weekend. It will likely linger there through Wednesday, gathering strength and organization. The storm will then move northward towards to the central Gulf. Where on the exactly in the central Gulf and how strong is still very much in question.
A track towards the central gulf would ultimately put South Texas on the subsidence side or the side with sinking, dry air. This means we will likely see a hot, dry next weekend.
While there is still plenty of time for things to change and specific details to be worked out, chances of a significant tropical event in South Texas are very low, but we should remain weather aware with a tropical system in the Gulf. Also this is a great reminder that we are in Hurricane Season and all it takes is one storm in the Valley to make it a busy year.