Computer models are keying in on a tropical disturbance that could be forming in the Gulf of Mexico over the next four or five days.
00z ECMWF computer model takes the Caribbean mess, develops it and stalls it in the Central Gulf of Mexico for quite a few days. While it meanders, the storm strengthens from 1004mbs to 986mbs or so as it makes landfall on the Panhandle of Florida with winds greater than 86 mph by next Thursday... in other words a hurricane. This is still in the very early stages of modeling, so things can change a lot between now and then. The GFS isn't as enthusiastic as the Euro so we need a few more days of data gathering before the future becomes clearer. But the models have been toying with this idea for several days now and they appear to be gaining some consistency in their forecast.
This is from the National Hurricane Center this morning:
A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE SOUTH-CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO IS PRODUCING A LARGE AREA OF CLOUDINESS... SHOWERS...AND THUNDERSTORMS THAT EXTENDS FROM THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA NORTHWARD INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO AND FLORIDA. STRONG UPPER-LEVEL WINDS OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO ARE EXPECTED TO DIMINISH IN A DAY OR SO...AND SOME GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE AS THE DISTURBANCE MOVES SLOWLY NORTHWARD TOWARD THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...HEAVY RAINS AND LOCALIZED FLOODING ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE YUCATAN PENINSULA...WESTERN CUBA...AND SOUTHERN FLORIDA THROUGH SATURDAY.
Right now the steering currents are weak so whatever direction the system takes, it won't be quickly. Heavy rains will be the main threat right now.
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