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Slowly budding tropical system to stir downpours, seas in Gulf of Mexico next week

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 6 days ago Alex Sosnowski
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A slowly budding tropical system near Central America will drift into Gulf of Mexico waters to cause heavy rainfall to ramp up and seas to build next week.

While conditions are too hostile for development in the waters surrounding Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, they are anticipated to change early next week, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

"It is the speed at which these hostile conditions diminish that will determine the formation spot, track and intensity of a tropical system," Kottlowski said.

The main key to development will be whether or not wind shear diminishes in the region. Wind shear is the variation of wind speed and direction at different levels of the atmosphere. In this case, strong westerly winds at mid-levels of the atmosphere will have to diminish for a tropical system to form.

The window of development for this tropical system extends from late Sunday to Wednesday night.

Scattered torrential downpours and gusty thunderstorms over Central America and the western Caribbean Sea will increase in coverage and spread northwestward across southeastern Mexico and Cuba this weekend.

As this occurs, the potential for flash and urban flooding and rough seas and surf will increase in the region.

There are two main scenarios for the path of the system at this time.

Should the tropical system form over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, a likely path would be toward northeastern Mexico or perhaps the southern Texas coast.

In this case, downpours, gusty thunderstorms and building seas would spread westward over the western part of the Gulf of Mexico. Other than typical summertime thunderstorm activity, conditions would not deteriorate over the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Florida with this westward path.

This somewhat more likely westward track favors more strengthening of the tropical system, as the warmest waters of the Gulf of Mexico are in this region.

Should the tropical system form on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula it would have a greater chance of moving northward. Heavy showers and gusty thunderstorms with building seas will spread northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico in this scenario.

The northward track might mean a weaker system that is being subjected to disruptive winds at mid-levels of the atmosphere and slightly cooler waters. However, even a weak or non-designated tropical system could unleash torrential rainfall and flooding.

"Because of the uncertainty of the track with this system that has not formed yet, we are advising all interests along the Gulf and northwestern Caribbean coasts to monitor its progress and keep checking for forecast updates," Kottlowski said.

If the system forms and where it does so will help to determine the future path and where the greatest impacts to lives and property will be.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, a system close to the equator bears watching for tropical development. This cluster of showers and thunderstorms will drift toward the southern part of the Windward Islands late in the weekend.

The next names on the list of tropical storms in the Atlantic basin for 2017 are Bret and Cindy, following Arlene from April.

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