Flooding rain to eye Central America to Texas regardless of tropical storm potential in Gulf, Caribbean

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 13, 2018, 3:01:39 PM EDT

An area of disturbed weather in the western Caribbean Sea may cause flooding problems along its path to the Gulf of Mexico despite a small chance to organize into a weak tropical system this weekend.

A broad area of drenching showers and strong thunderstorms is forecast to drift northwestward from the western Caribbean to the western Gulf of Mexico over the next five days.

Development seems unlikely over the next couple of days and may not occur at all, despite sufficiently warm waters, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

A non-tropical storm in the vicinity will create substantial wind shear from Central America and the western Caribbean to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Static Atlantic Wide Loop

This satellite loop shows the entire tropical Atlantic basin. The area of interest is over the western third of the picture, over the western Caribbean Sea. (NOAA/GOES East Satellite)

Wind shear is the variation of wind speed and direction at different levels of the atmosphere. When wind shear is strong as it is now, it prevents a circulation from developing just above the surface of the ocean.

There is a small chance of development from the west-central Gulf of Mexico late this week to near the Texas and southwestern Louisiana coast this weekend.

"In order for development to occur, wind shear would have to diminish," Kottlowski said.

This is the case, even though it is the current wind shear that is helping to fuel thunderstorms near central America.

Static Tropical Concern

Impact from the disturbance and non-tropical storm

The same non-tropical storm will pump moisture across Central America, Cuba and the Florida Keys.

Thunderstorms over Cuba and the Keys are likely to be spotty in nature, although clouds will be noticeable at times.

Regardless of development into a named tropical system or not, drenching downpours and gusty thunderstorms are also in store close to the disturbance's path as it moves northwestward.

The disturbance may enhance the downpours enough to cause flash flooding.

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During the middle days of the week, the potential for isolated flash flooding and mudslides will extend from The Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Nicaragua to Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and southeastern Mexico.

From Friday into the weekend, the risk of heavy rainfall, rough surf and gusty thunderstorms will increase from the northeastern coast of Mexico to coastal Texas and southwestern Louisiana.

Interests on land and sea throughout this swath should monitor the situation as trouble could occur at the local level, despite little or no tropical development.

Squalls may occur with little notice and pose hazards to small craft.

Motorists should be prepared for localized flooding and travel delays as the showers and thunderstorms travel through the region.

During next week, it is possible that this moisture may surge northward and bring localized downpours into the southern Plains.

Downpours Gulf coast static

At the same time, moisture from Major Hurricane Bud in the East Pacific may be enhancing moisture from the Rockies to the northern Plains.

Any impact on Texas to be far from another Harvey

A repeat of the Harvey disaster is not expected with this situation even though the disturbance is originating from the same general area as Harvey and may end up over Texas.

Harvey caused damage of $125 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The feature in question is poorly organized, while Harvey made landfall as a major hurricane in Texas.

Slow forward movement of the disturbance is likely to continue, while Harvey's rainfall stalled for several days.

While flooding problems cannot be ruled out at this early stage in Texas, they are unlikely to approach the scope of the disaster caused by Harvey.

However, there is the potential for enough rain to fall to cause flooding in low lying areas and perhaps along some of the rivers given repeating nature of the anticipated rainfall.

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