Weathermen continue to watch a messy mix in the Caribbean that has a possibility of developing into the first named Atlantic storm of the season Nobody knows yet just what it will do, but most forecasters currently think it will not develop into a hurricane.
There has been little change over the past 24 hours to the tropical wave identified as 93L by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). This system has not become any better organized, but NHC forecaster Robbie Berg says conditions continue to appear good for some slow development as it moves westward around 10 mph into the western Caribbean over the next day or two.
Showers and a few thunderstorms over the central Caribbean continued to produce heavy rainfall across portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the adjacent waters this morning.
Hot water in the Gulf and lack of overhead winds that can shear the top off of a developing storm have caused the NHC to give 93L a 30 percent chance of becoming at least a tropical depression. That is down from 50 percent yesterday.
AccuWeather.com forecasters say the disorganized system will move west-northwest for the next few days and that a low-level circulation will gradually form during Thursday and Friday south of the main thunderstorm area near Jamaica. The system will then track into the northwestern Caribbean on Saturday, then move over the Yucatan Peninsula during Sunday, they say.
A high pressure ridge stretching east to west from Texas into the southeastern United States will be in place north of this system into early next week creating steering winds across the Gulf of Mexico that could blow the storm into Texas or possibly Louisiana. It depends on how strong the ridge remains and how long it stays where it is.
“If this Atlantic ridge weakens over Texas and the western Gulf of Mexico, the system will track on a more northwesterly course. This could take the system into the western Gulf of Mexico and on a course towards Texas or Louisiana next week,” according to the AccuWeather forecast. “If the Atlantic ridge holds strong across Texas and the deep southern United States, the system will track into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and into Mexico next week.”
“A likely landfall location is highly uncertain at this point, and the storm could hit virtually anywhere along the Gulf of Mexico coast from South Texas to the Florida Panhandle given the current uncertainty in its development, and the strength of next Monday's trough that may steer 93L northwards,” storm expert Jeff Masters said. That trough, developing on the Eastern Seaboard could pull the storm into the oil slick area of the Gulf.
Computer models vary on how strong the system will become, but as of Wednesday morning none see the storm developing to hurricane strength. A disturbance becomes a tropical depression when a distinct pattern of circulation can be seen and sustained wind speeds are 38 miles per hour or less. Disturbances become tropical storms and are given names when they reach a sustained wind speed of 39 mph. Tropical storms become hurricanes when sustained winds reach 74 mph.
There were no signs of a surface circulation visible on Wednesday morning’s satellite imagery.
Masters expects the storm to strengthen enough to become Tropical Storm Alex but sees a low probability that it will develop past tropical storm strength once it reaches the Gulf, if in fact it gets into the Gulf.
Southwest Louisiana forecasters say a bit of tropical moisture would not be unwelcomed over much of Louisiana, where drought or near-drought conditions have been building since early spring.
The National Drought Mitigation Center report released June 17 lists much of Acadiana as “abnormally dry” or in “moderate drought” while practically all of central and northwestern Louisiana is in severe drought.