Just over a month into hurricane season, the first decent chance for a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico is being monitored by the National Hurricane Center. Right now, it's just an area of low pressure over northern Alabama, but it is forecast to slowly move south-southeast over the next few days before emerging over the northern Gulf as we push toward the weekend.
The National Hurricane Center is giving this a 40 percent chance of development into a depression in five days, considered a modest, albeit still low, chance.
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This type of storm is pretty common in the Gulf this time of year. Leftover low pressure systems can spin offshore and turn into something, but the probability of a hurricane right now, given the lack of bullishness in the forecast models, seems quite low.
There are a couple scenarios that could play out, one being the disturbance drifts west over the Gulf and winds up in the Houston area by perhaps Saturday or Sunday. The other is it spins a bit in the northern Gulf and eventually moves back north over the Florida panhandle.
At the moment, the chances it moves in our direction are pretty low. A ridge of high pressure bringing all the heat we've had the past few days will remain in place until late in the week, shielding us from storms like this, but that is forecast to erode by Thursday or Friday and could open the door to some tropical moisture off the Gulf if not a full-blown storm.
Since it is still five to seven days out, however, it's a good idea to monitor the situation just in case.