PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — The First Alert Storm team breaks down current activity in the Gulf, why there was a tropical threat this week, upcoming heavy rain threat and more!
The team begins with a look at the current conditions, which are very wet. Both Thursday and Friday the Panhandle has been put under a slight risk for excessive rainfall. Meaning a level 2 out of 5 for the risk of flooding.
The reason for so much rainfall in the past week has been a pesky stationary boundary draped across the Southeast. During other seasons of the year, these fronts slide over the region more swiftly, but during the summer, they tend to stall out.
This week’s boundary stalled, bringing 60-80% shower and storm chances each day. Chief Ross Whitley explains, that the moisture boundary has a broad circulation around it.
During many instances of tropical season, this generalized spin takes advantage of warm ocean water, moist air, and a low shear environment. These ingredients can come together to create an area of low pressure at the surface, which when strong enough, will be dubbed a tropical storm.
After the tropical storm develops, it will depend on other forces around the storm to steer it in various directions. In the Panhandle, southeasterly flow circulating around the Subtropical High in the Atlantic will usually push the system inland as it decreases in strength.
In the case of this past week, the potential area of development, or area of interest, floated too far north over land. For a tropical system to be named by the National Hurricane Center, the center of low pressure must form over water. This is why “Danielle” was unable to be named.
Looking forward to the end of July, Meteorologist Grace Thornton explains that the other factors that inhibited the formation of Tropical Storm Danielle, Saharan dust, and high wind shear will continue.
Saharan dust and dry air choke out tropical systems, which need moisture to survive and thrive. Tropical systems do need wind of course, but too much of it will make them unable to form.
Grace notes there is a TUTT (Tropical Upper Tropospheric Trough) over much of the Gulf/Caribbean region this week, which is acting as another block on possible tropical activity.
Over the next 7 days, the trough will gradually shift northeast of the Panhandle, lightening rain chances for the weekend.