Tropical downpours loom for Texas, Louisiana
AccuWeather meteorologists are closely tracking a disturbance over the north-central Gulf of Mexico for potential tropical development into the middle of the week. Regardless of whether a system evolves, downpours that can produce flash flooding but also alleviate ongoing drought conditions are forecast.
The tropical season in the basin officially started on June 1, and the first named storm, Tropical Storm Alex, formed just five days later, contributing to drenching rainfall across Florida. Since then, the basin has turned quiet, but forecasters are keeping a close eye on this latest feature in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a disturbance in the far southern Atlantic.
"We continue to show a low chance for development across the western Gulf of Mexico into the middle of the week," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said.
Across that area, Douty further explained that light wind shear, or disruptive winds in the atmosphere, combined with above-normal water temperatures, will contribute to a small window in which a tropical depression could try to form on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Residents along the Texas coastline should all be on alert for the potential of a quick-forming system.
Even if a tropical system does not form, tropical downpours are likely across the Gulf Coast states this week.
"An influx of tropical moisture, streaming up from the Gulf of Mexico will be running into a stalled front across the southern U.S. These opposite forces will squeeze out the moisture in between, leading to downpours from Texas to the Florida Panhandle," explained Douty.
This pattern is likely to persist for a few days, allowing for the same areas to hit with more than one or two rounds of heavy rain. The rainfall could help portions of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast that are currently experiencing drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
While portions of Texas and Louisiana could really use the rain, it's possible that the rainfall may come too quickly for the dry ground to absorb, resulting in flash flooding. Motorists should be cautious of ponding on the roadways and reduced visibility which could lead to travel delays.
Outside of this zone, across parts of Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, downpours are also expected; because this area has experienced closer-to-normal rainfall over the past several months, making flash flooding less likely.
Forecasters are also keeping an eye on a tropical feature expected to push into the southeastern Caribbean this week as well. This tropical system has a greater chance of gaining the next name on this year's hurricane list, Bonnie.
AccuWeather's team of tropical weather meteorologists, headed by Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, expects an above-average season and above-average direct impacts on the U.S. for 2022. The team remains concerned that there could be one or more significant impacts on Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the southeastern U.S. mainland this season.
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