MIAMI, Fla. (WMBB) – The disorganized area of showers and thunderstorms has now moved into Apalachee Bay and the National Hurricane Center has upped the chance of formation to 70% in 48 hours.
On Tuesday, confidence increased in the tropical system developing into a Tropical Depression by late Wednesday or early Thursday as it moves westward in the Gulf of Mexico.
If the system develops into a Tropical Storm, it would be named Barry.
The National Hurricane Center said an Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft is on stand-by to fly into the low and investigate on Wednesday, if necessary.
Current sea surface temperatures are sitting in the upper 80s, which is well above the threshold for tropical systems to thrive, so it’s becoming more likely that we’ll see Barry develop in the northern Gulf.
This system is expected to drift westward away from the panhandle, and likely make landfall in south Louisiana, west of New Orleans.
Latest weather models are in a much higher consensus for the track of the system, bringing it to Louisiana, however the strength still varies from model to model.
As of Tuesday, the potential impacts across the panhandle from this next system could be 3 to 6 inches of rain, but that still depends on how close the system is to the coastline.
A broad low pressure area has emerged over Apalachee Bay in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for tropical cyclone formation and development over the next several days, and a tropical depression is likely to form by late Wednesday or Thursday while the system moves westward across the northern Gulf of Mexico.
An Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the low on Wednesday, if necessary. This disturbance has the potential to produce heavy rainfall from the Upper Texas Coast to the Florida Panhandle during the next several days. In addition, this system could produce wind and storm surge impacts later this week or this weekend from Louisiana to the Upper Texas coast, and interests along the Gulf Coast should continue to monitor its progress.
* Formation chance through 48 hours…high…70 percent.National Hurricane Center Tropical Weather Outlook, 2pm EDT
The 13 First Alert Storm Team will be monitoring this situation and updates will be posted here and on our social media accounts.