We are currently closely watching a persistent cluster of clouds and showers in the Caribbean, just east of Belize. What's keeping it from developing right now? Strong upper-level winds and dry air, limiting organization during the next day or two. Later in the week, some tropical organization is possible, meaning it would show signs of a closed circulation at the surface and the rain would organize into feeder bands around the center. That will happen while the system moves slowly northward into the central or eastern Gulf of Mexico. Along with us here at NBC 15, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring this area and has put the chance of it developing into an organized tropical system at 50% over the next 5 days.
This tropical potential is not new to us here at NBC 15. Nearly 2 weeks ago we first told you about possible tropical development in the west Caribbean prior to Memorial Day weekend. As we close in on the holiday weekend, several forecast models are developing this area into an organized tropical system (closed low) and moving it north toward the Gulf of Mexico. One possibility is that it moves toward Louisiana while other options take it closer to, or even across South Florida. As far as intensity, the most likely outcome is for a tropical depression or minimal tropical storm.
The bottom line is that this system could bring a LOT of rain to the Gulf Coast. These drenching downpours could have an impact on your beach plans for the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. Not only heavy rain but also dangerous rip currents and rough surf for swimmers. There is still a fair amount of uncertainty regarding exactly how things will play out here, so keep checking back for our updates. We'll keep you ahead of the storm with the latest information every step of the way.
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Meteorologist Jake Dunne