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June 2012

Tropical Development Likely to Affect Western Gulf of Mexico in 6-10 Days

   Posted by Levi at 5:52pm on June 15, 2012

As we have been talking about for a while now, tropical development is still favored in the western Gulf of Mexico later next week and into next weekend. The monsoon trough in the eastern Pacific and western Caribbean will be slowly swelling northward with time into next week, and the fact that Hurricane Carlotta in the eastern Pacific is moving close to the Mexican coastline instead of out to sea illustrates that this is already beginning to occur. This pattern is being strongly supported by an intense MJO wave moving into phases 8 and 1, and it is this kind of support that most Atlantic June storms form under. The pressure pattern over North America and the western Atlantic favors low-level convergence (piling up of air) in the western gulf, and this, combined with the strength of the oncoming MJO, is why I have been adamant about the significant possibility of tropical development, despite only little model support. The models are slowly coming more onboard now, with the CMC, GFS, NOGAPS, and at times the ECMWF showing at least a closed low developing of some kind. The ensemble means continue to strongly support a very wet and convective pattern in the northwest gulf in about a week’s time. Sea surface temperatures are also running 1C above normal in the entire western gulf, 28-29C in most areas, and would provide plenty of fuel for tropical development.

The video above details the overall setup that should lead to an attempt at development. The exact timing and location of such a development still can’t be known over a week out, but the general idea here continues to be that the western gulf should light up with activity that could bring heavy rains to northern Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana, very similar to the patterns of Allison in June 1989 and Allison in June 2001. The same kind of blocking pattern could either cause a potential storm to stall near Texas as the Allisons did, or it could simply turn the storm westward into Texas or Mexico. The models currently favor the latter scenario, but this will be determined by the exact timing of development and how far north the potential system gets. The overall idea to keep in mind right now while we are still 6-10 days away is that the northwest Gulf of Mexico is going to get a shot of significant tropical activity, with a significant possibility of the development of a tropical storm, and at least a bout of heavy rains regardless.

We shall see what happens!