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May 2018

[May 21] System in Western Caribbean Could Develop in Gulf of Mexico – More Rain for SE US

   Posted by Levi at 3:15pm on May 21, 2018

A strong upper trough reaching down into the Caribbean has spurred the development of a surface trough north of Honduras. Lots of wind shear and dry air are currently preventing development, but the disturbance will gradually track northward into the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday, and if it becomes vertically stacked beneath the upper trough, some subtropical or tropical development is possible. Models currently disagree on how far west or east the disturbance will track, with the GFS moving the system over the Florida Peninsula, and the ECMWF toward the central gulf coast. At this point, I would tend to lean toward the ECMWF track due to what appear to me to be convective feedback issues in the GFS. However, given the broad and disorganized nature of the system, there is a fair bit of uncertainty in its eventual track.

Regardless of the disturbance’s track, or even whether it develops, Florida will continue to receive periods of heavy rain throughout this week due to the tropical moisture flowing up the eastern side of the system, leading to potential flooding hazards. Considerable rain may fall along the central and eastern gulf coast states as well, especially late this week. The disturbance will move rather slowly on its way northward due to weak steering currents, leading to substantial accumulations. This rain is currently expected to be the primary impact from this system.

As of Monday evening, the NHC gives a 40% chance of subtropical or tropical cyclone formation during the next 5 days. Any development will be very gradual during the next 2-3 days while the system remains messy and sheared, and it is currently uncertain whether significant development will occur after midweek. Stay tuned to the National Hurricane Center and your local NWS office for the latest information.

Forecast Additional Rainfall for Next 5 Days:




  • Cody Miller says:

    I’ll be in Port Arthur Texas. Local nets say it could come as far west as the TX/Louisiana border. Do you agree Levi?!

    • Levi says:

      It’s currently within the realm of possibility, but it’s worth keeping in mind that most of the heavy weather is likely to be on the eastern side of this system, so getting lots of rain that far west is probably not very likely right now. Of course, we’re talking about a forecast 5-6 days in advance, so there is uncertainty.

  • Anonymous says:

    Appreciate the update. Picked the wrong week for a cruise to Havava.

  • Luke katz says:

    I hope this year isn’t as bad as last year

  • Brice says:

    HI Levi, look forward to your talks about the tropics, when to you go live,,, TD,TS ?? thanks


  • MeteorologistGuy says:

    How about the FV3-GFS?
    Would you consider that a reliable source?

    • Levi says:

      No single weather model is a reliable source of forecasts. Professional meteorologists interpret the output of multiple models and current conditions to make accurate forecasts.

  • SOBX says:

    Thx Levi…

  • Joel Lanier says:

    Great Job Levi,

    I’m posting a link to your stuff on my Weather Blog at Weatherpond.

  • Kelly says:

    Thank you for your continued updates. We live in Navarre, FL and have been experiencing off and on thunderstorm/rain showers for several days (to my dog’s dismay). How does the saying go? May showers brings June mosquitos and tourist? Well, at least one can spray for mosquitos. lol.

  • Daniel Burroughs says:

    Levi, what would you expect here in the Tampa area? anything like Andrea or Debby? or more like a Collin type storm?


    • Levi says:

      Well, it’s going to be a wet week, but for specific local rainfall amounts, consult the National Weather Service in Tampa for a detailed forecast. I can only provide a bird’s eye view.

  • Tropics Tracker says:

    Well I wouldn’t give this a 40% chance like the NHC I would actually give it a 30% it’s impressive how this became the first invest of the year but what chance do you think it has of formation?

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks Levi,

    Another question. Why such a spread amongst the models. Is it because it is not well organized? 500 miles between the GFS and Euro seems like alot. brings back memories of Tropical storm Debby?? what are your thoughts?

    • Levi says:

      The sloppy, disorganized nature of the system is part of it, since the center could form or reform within a broad area. The strong interaction with an upper-level trough is also inducing uncertainty, since models tend to struggle in that situation.

  • ke5fgy says:

    Looking forward to another season with you Levi, your greatly appreciated!!

  • Stephen says:

    Waiting to see what happen’s here in Pensacola Beach! We are more than due, We haven’t had a severe storm since 05 with Dennis, and Ivan in 04!

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