Weather

Tropical Depression or Storm Could Form in the Gulf This Week

What could be Tropical Storm Claudette could threaten the northern Gulf Coast this weekend.
What could be Tropical Storm Claudette could threaten the northern Gulf Coast this weekend. National Hurricane Center
Hurricane season officially opened on June 1 and we've already had one named tropical storm (Ana) with two more possibly on the way. A depression, possibly soon to be named Tropical Storm Bill, is off the North Carolina coast and is little threat to land. But, Claudette could be next, formed from the remnants of a disorganized system in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

As of Monday night, a very disorganized area of showers and thunderstorms remains a meandering blob in the Bay of Campeche. Right now, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting a 20 percent chance of development within the next 48 hours, but a more robust chance of strengthening after that.

Most of the reliable forecast models have come into better alignment on some kind of modestly organized tropical system eventually heading north and making landfall Saturday possibly in Louisiana or extreme eastern Texas with storms mainly well east of the defined center of circulation.

While the storm has plenty of time over water, there is a good batch of wind shear over the Gulf that isn't forecast to dissipate much and a ton of dry air over east and central Texas that should act as an impediment to development and a hinderance to any storm trying to forge a path in this direction.

This doesn't mean the storm couldn't be a threat to Texas, but more likely the worst of the rain will be well to the east of us with only modest impacts in the Houston area.

Regardless, this is a good reminder that we are in hurricane season, even if it is early, and the time to be ready for storms along the Gulf Coast is now. Even if "Claudette" turns out to be of little importance to those of us in the Houston area, it feels like it will be a long season with a lot of potential threats, so stay up to date on what's happening in the tropics.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke