23 June 2012

Tropical Trouble Brewing In The Gulf

Posted by Dan Satterfield

NASA Terra Satellite image from Midday Saturday. Click for a 1km resolution image.

A wider view from the NASA Terra Satellite. Click for a bigger image.

UPDATE 4PM EDT Saturday: As I thought- Tropical Storm Debby has formed. NHC Issued tropical storm warnings for the Louisiana Coast.

We may already have a tropical depression in the Gulf this afternoon, and we may have Tropical Storm Debby in a few hours. The area of thunderstorms is definitely looking more organised and a weak circulation is visible. There is no convection around the center yet, so it may be awhile. Once the wind shear weakens (as is forecasted by the models) this system could develop fairly quickly.

Just where its will go is more difficult, but with each model run, the threat to the western Gulf goes up… i.e. Texas, and Louisiana. With the Gulf so warm right now, there seems to be a LOT of rain with this system and the strength of it is not so much a worry as how much flooding rains it could produce. If were to go toward Texas, they could end up with the second billion dollar weather disaster inside of a month! The Dallas hail event last week being the first.

The water temperature at the surface matters, but the depth of that warm water is important as well, since this is where a tropical storm gets it’s energy. The latest data shows a deep layer of warm water directly beneath this system.

The depth of the 26C isotherm shows an abundance of warm water under the developing system. Ctsy. NOAA AOML.

Jeff Mater's Weather Underground image showing opposite tracks by the various NWP models today!

The NHC has asked for a recon plane to look at the system and I will post an update below (if it is upgraded) this evening.