Stage is being set for tropical storm formation!

The chances for a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico next week are increasing. The tropical wave that has dumped heavy rains on parts of the northeast Caribbean this week has not grown into a tropical storm because of the upper level westerly wind shear, plus the land interaction with the mountains of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.
The upper winds (yellow) have changed from a shearing current to a high level outflow. This will cause low level warm, moist easterly winds associated with the tropical wave (red) to undergo strong lifting. The release of latent heat being released by condensation in storm clouds will cause a drop in barometric pressure; hence, tropical depression and tropical storm formation can be expected south of Cuba in the western Caribbean within the next 24 to 36 hours.

High pressure over the southeastern US should keep the system on a track near the Yucatan peninsula toward the western Gulf of Mexico. It is too early to tell the ultimate impact this will have on the Gulf oil spill. If the storm heads more westerly over the lower Gulf, the effect will be minimal, if any. But any front or trough approaching Texas from the west over the weekend may cause the storm to turn towards the upper Texas coast. If this occurs,the oil spill would be shifted away from the eastern Gulf beaches, but move the oil farther west toward the Louisiana or upper Texas coast.



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