STORMY WATERS IN THE WESTERN GULF

Yucatan low moving over warm Gulf waters toward south Texas border.

We’ve been watching the Gulf of Mexico for over two months. First, it was the advance of the oil spill towards the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle. Then with the beginning of the hurricane season in June, we looked at the effects of an eastern Gulf storm. Such a scenario would have pushed the oil away from the coast and southward towards the Gulf loop current.

At that time I did not want to discuss the effects of a western Gulf storm, mainly because it looked too ugly to discuss. Since ALEX came on the scene and moved across the eastern Mexico coastline, winds and waves in the Gulf have been moving the spill towards the northwestern Gulf shorelines of Louisiana and parts of Texas. So far this has stopped the eastward movement towards Florida and the southward drift into the Gulf loop current.

The next player in this nightmare is the developing low pressure that has shifted from the Yucatan peninsula to the western Gulf of Mexico. Upper winds are not favorable for hurricane formation at this time, but the instability of the moist atmosphere surrounding the Campeche low makes tropical depression or tropical storm formation a distinct possibility. The combination of lower pressure over the Rio Grande valley and high pressure over the eastern US will again make for rough waters and strong easterly winds over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

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