Our local focus is going to hone in on the disturbance over the Caribbean. I know this is giving many of you PTSD flashbacks to Harvey, which took a similar path three years ago.
Sit back and relax a bit because this 97L, as it is known is NOT Harvey. If anything it becomes Marco.
Why Marco? Because current guidance is suggesting that a system further out in the Atlantic will develop into Laura first. Where we are at this morning, it seem that system number 2, will not impact us here locally. It is 97L that we need to watch closely.
Every storm is very different and this is no exception. There is no clue just yet as to how strong 97L will get and we have limited insight on where exactly it will go.
We do believe that the odds are increasing that 97L will bring some impacts to the western Gulf, and those potential impacts could be felt in Texas next week.
Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to pay it a visit Thursday, and if they do, we’ll have a better idea of where it will go by Friday.
Right now it looks like 97L is lagging in terms of development as it approaches the Yucatán and Bay of Campeche. As it interacts with the Yucatán over the weekend you will likely see it diminish rapidly, but as it emerges back out over the warm Gulf waters you COULD see rapid intensification of the storm. That is why we need to prepare and be cautious.
One thing that is hindering development is what we’ve circled in red. That is drier air just above the system. That drier air is helping to keep thunderstorms from developing vertically, a key development factor. The purple mark indicates thunderstorm development with some circulation. But that dry air is really helping to keep this 97L limited.
As it moves across the Yucatán it could draw in more of the moisture over Venezuela and Central America. That is when we could see more development. But it’s a wait and see kind of game.
There is some limited wind shear development over the Gulf, but that just means the potential for further development is there. We most likely will not see that until later in the weekend into next week. That drier air is working against this thing over the next day or so.
What can/should we be doing right now? Keep an eye on things and review your preparations. Hanna was just a few weeks ago and some folks used their supplies up then because the power was out in some places for several hours. Restock those supplies, check your batteries and make sure to keep aware of the forecast from the National Hurricane Center. They will be the best source of information on the system as it develops. You can access their guidance multiple times daily as the tropics begin to flare up during what has been historically the most active time for tropical development. They often avoid the scientific hype and keep things pretty simple to understand.
For now, let’s just watch the tropics and keep an eye on how things play out over the next several days.
Doug Mason contributes to this report from Miami, Florida. Matt Pierce contributed to this story for Corpus Christi.