Talkin' Tropics – August 12-17: Possible development late this week


Posted on August 12, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 10:38 PM

Alexandra Cranford / WWL Eyewitness News Forecast Team

A weekly discussion of the tropics from the Eyewitness News Forecast Team


The tropics are tranquil, and they’ll likely stay that way for at least the next three days. Take a look at the infrared satellite shot of the Atlantic Basin at the top of this article. It’s nice and calm out there.

The big question: could things change by the end of the week? One model suggests things will heat up. It’s important to note the scenario may never play out, and it’s certainly not supported by all the reliable long-range models.

But let’s go ahead and talk about it. Here’s what the model is showing:

Click to enlarge

  • An area of low pressure may develop by Thursday or Friday in the western Caribbean Sea/southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
  • The model shows the system possibly intensifying into a tropical storm. It drags the storm north/northeast toward the eastern Gulf Coast.
  • The model shows rain spreading over the Florida panhandle by Saturday. Then the storm weakens as it races north/northeast to the Carolinas early next week.

That’s what one model shows.

Here’s the thinking behind that scenario: if that low pressure area in the western Caribbean strengthens, it could get pulled to the north by the upper level trough and cold front over the southeast United States. If that happens, we could have a tropical system in the Gulf late this week into the weekend.

The model keeps most of the heavy rain and major impacts on the eastern side of the storm - away from Louisiana and Mississippi.

But wait: it’s important to remember the system may never strengthen at all. And if it doesn’t strengthen into a healthy storm, it won’t get pulled along northward through the Gulf. It’ll just stay disorganized and drift westward toward Mexico, staying far south of the Gulf Coast.

Another reliable model is showing exactly that. Enter Scenario 2:

Click to enlarge

So which scenario will happen? We’ll have to wait to see how much the low pressure strengthens when it reaches the western Caribbean in the middle of the week. Until then, it’s too far out to say what we’ll be dealing with at the end of the week.

Of course, the Eyewitness News Forecast Team will be watching very closely. You can check our tropical video updates through the week. Carl, Laura, Derek and Alexandra post updated videos several times a day.

Check back next week for your updated Talkin' Tropics discussion. Every week, we'll post a fresh tropics forecast for the week ahead.