Tropical system developing in the Gulf

Weather Blog

Forecast model tracks of the tropical disturbance in the Gulf

Please see Weather Forecast page for updated information on Tropical Depression #8

An area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico has an increased 50% chance of strengthening into a tropical depression as the disturbance moves slowly west-northwestward toward Texas.

The area of low pressure has yet to develop into a tropical system, but may intensify and organize itself as it treks through the Gulf of Mexico this week. A NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft may investigate the system Wednesday afternoon if deemed necessary.

If this storm does intensify, it would become Tropical Depression #8, or potentially even Tropical Storm Hanna. This storm is not expected to reach hurricane strength.

Tropical Cyclone Classifications

  • Tropical Depression: Less than 39 mph
  • Tropical Storm: 39-73 mph
  • Hurricane: 74+ mph
Tropical disturbance in the central Gulf at sunrise Wednesday, moving westward (NOAA)

As this system moves toward Texas over the next several days, it will be moving over generally warmer than normal ocean waters that can act as fuel for a developing tropical system. Other factors that can affect intensification include mid-level humidity and the amount of wind shear in the storm’s environment.

Sea surface temperature anomalies (Tropical Tidbits)

Read the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center below:

Tropical Weather Outlook 
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 
800 AM EDT Wed Jul 22 2020 

A tropical wave is producing a large area of disorganized showers 
and thunderstorms over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, central and 
southern Florida, and western Cuba. Gradual development of this 
system is possible while it moves west-northwestward, and a tropical 
depression could form during the next few days. This disturbance is 
expected to move over the central Gulf today, and reach the 
northwestern Gulf on Thursday and Friday. An Air Force Reserve 
Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system 
later today, if necessary. 

* Formation chance through 48 hours...medium...40 percent. 
* Formation chance through 5 days...medium...50 percent.

Texas Impact

Our local forecast in central Texas this weekend is highly uncertain as so many questions remain on where this disturbance tracks and how strong or weak it may be upon arrival on the Texas coast late Friday. Some computer models are suggesting the potential of heavy rain and cool temperatures this weekend, while others are suggesting a more minor impact.

National Weather Service forecast rain totals over the next 7 days
European model rainfall projections through Sunday night
GFS model rainfall projections through Sunday night

However this plays out, it does at least appear that Austin will receive its first measurable rainfall of the month over the next week, putting a quick end to what has been a record-dry July thus far.

Stay with the KXAN First Warning Weather team as we monitor this system, and what is forecast to be a hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season through the summer and fall.

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