There hasn’t been too much to talk about when referring to the 2014 Hurricane season as of yet, but the National Weather Service has had a watchful eye over an area of low lying pressure in the western Gulf of Mexico throughout this week, as well as monitoring the tropical formations of Cristobal and Marie.
A Hurricane Hunter aircraft has been circulating throughout the Gulf Coast over the week, and on Wednesday, found that the system that is just off the Texas coast didn’t yet have a well-defined circulation. Also, it found that the convection of this system has diminished since Wednesday morning.
Beginning on Thursday morning, another flare up of the convection occurred, and this time it is much closer to the surface low that is located just off of the South Texas coast. Luckily, there is less wind shear present than there was on Wednesday, but it still isn’t out of the question that this lower level disturbance could be categorized as a tropical depression before moving westward into South Texas. If this does occur, it will likely happen on Thursday; sometime during the day or in the evening.
Even if this system doesn’t indeed develop into a tropical depression before making landfall, there is still a potential for some shaky weather. This could include flash flooding, high surf and rip currents, as well as locally heavy rainfall. This will occur due to the persistent onshore winds that continue to develop, which will then increase the amount of moisture throughout the northern and western Gulf Coast throughout the Labor Day Holiday weekend.
This may come as a blessing to some, as the area that is projected to be hit has been going through a dry spell recently. Galveston, TX has only received a miniscule 12.47 inches of rain since January 1st, which is 17.64 inches below average for this time. Corpus Christi is also more than 8 inches below the average in rainfall since the beginning of this year.
As we begin making our way into the end of the summer, the atmospheric instability over the Gulf of Mexico is nearing its peak. This is the heart of the hurricane season, so any type of thunderstorm or system in the area will call for attention. This is because persistent clusters of storms near the frontal boundaries or surface troughs in the tropics, and even subtropics, can eventually lower the surface pressure, therefore leading to a tropical cyclone.
As many that reside in this area know, the Gulf of Mexico has a history of quickly producing tropical cyclones from even the smallest of thunderstorm clusters. The most recent and best example of this was in 2007, when Hurricane Humberto hit the area of Galveston after transforming into a tropical storm in just 24 hours. There have been several tropical cyclones that have formed in the central, or western, Gulf of Mexico in late August since 1950. This includes Fernand in 2013, Jose in 2005, Earl in 1998, Charley in 1998, Elena in 1979, Debra in 1978, and Anita in 1977 are just some examples. Many others in late August have formed in other areas and then made their way into the Gulf of Mexico area.