By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta
Afternoon highs will continue to creep higher over the next few days, and while we can’t say “absolutely 100% rain-free” through the weekend, any showers that do develop will be spotty and short-lived.
We still expect some mid and even some upper 90°s in the viewing area by the weekend and into early next week -- so PLEASE be careful in the heat, especially if you are going to be in the direct sun which can add another 10° or more to the heat load!
For most Louisiana and Gulf Coast interests, the BIG developing weather story concerns the thunderstorm activity and low-pressure trough extending over the southern and southeastern Gulf. This afternoon, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) confirmed an "invest" ('area of tropical interest') in the extreme southern Gulf along the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. (You might remember that the WAFB storm Team pointed to the ‘spin’ over the northwest Yucatan on Wednesday evening.) Satellite movies show broad-scale spin along the northern Yucatan Coast, and the NHC has posted a 50-50 chance for tropical cyclone development in the next two days.
Now that there is a focus point for a center of circulation, we'll see what the computer guidance has to say about direction and rate of development during their evening runs. Given the extreme southern location, the earlier consensus by some of the reputable models for this being a Florida threat may no longer apply! In fact, our 3PM suspicion is that the models may now point the storm more towards Texas or Mexico, or worse yet, let it spin and meander in the southern and central Gulf.
Rapid development does not seem very likely at this point, but ANYTHING in the Gulf at this time of year deserves our attention. And as we head into the weekend, many people pay less attention to the weather -- don’t be one of those! Keep your eyes, ears, TVs, computers and mobile devices linked to WAFB, and we’ll keep you informed.
And while we’re talking tropics, Chris has done the almost unthinkable and continued to intensify, reaching Category 1 hurricane intensity earlier today! As of 4PM, Chris had weakened and returned to tropical storm strength, and slow-but-steady weakening is expected to continue over the next two days. While Chris is no threat to land, his history reminds us that when it comes to tropical systems, we still have a LOT to learn!