Very Warm Waters Ahead of 92L in the Northwest Gulf of Mexico

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Tropical Disturbance 92L is forecast to become a tropical storm by tomorrow night and north-northeastward into southwest Louisiana on Saturday. Northwest Gulf of Mexico waters are 85-86F which supports a hurricane. Tropical cyclone models are projecting a moderate-strength tropical storm. However, there is potential for an over-achieving system late this week in the northwest Gulf of Mexico.

Highlight: 92L to become a tropical storm (Claudette) tomorrow night.

Gulf of Mexico SST support a minimal hurricane.

Fig. 1: Gulf of Mexico satellite view and preliminary projection for 92L.

Discussion: Tropical Disturbance 92L remains disorganized in the Bay of Campeche. However, the upper shear north and northeast of 92L is diminishing. 92L is expected to start drifting northward on the back side of a subtropical high-pressure ridge area to the east. Once 92L is away from coast, organization occurs and 92L should become a tropical depression in 24 hours. A steady north drift is expected Friday with intensification to a tropical storm. The next storm name is Claudette. Claudette should turn north-northeastward Friday night and reach the southwest coast of Louisiana later Saturday. Models indicate a moderate-strength tropical storm. However, northwest Gulf of Mexico SST are in the 84-85F range which is warmer than normal. The SST pattern supports a potential minimal hurricane. Most of the weather (high wind and heavy rain) is likely to impact Louisiana and the upper coast of Texas. Amounts exceeding 10 in. is likely. Tropical storm force wind will reach the upper Texas and Louisiana coast very early on Saturday.

Fig. 2: Gulf of Mexico SST analysis.