Tropical system is organizing in the SW Caribbean Sea…expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico and threaten the US Gulf coast.
An area of low pressure has formed in the extreme SW Caribbean Sea today and recent satellite images suggest that a tropical cyclone is gradually forming with a large curved band of convection having developed. There is no well defined center at this time, but instead a large broad area of circulation. Overall the system is organizing as it moves toward the NNW. The NHC currently gives the system a 70% chance of formation over the next 5 days.
90L will track NNW to NW over the next 24-48 hours and across the western and into the northwest Caribbean Sea and then continue into the SC Gulf of Mexico this weekend. A strong trough of low pressure (common in October) will sweep into the northern plains this weekend and break down the ridging across the US Gulf coast allowing any tropical system over the Gulf to turn northward and likely accelerate toward the coast by late this weekend. Operational forecast models and their ensemble tracks suggest a threat from SW Louisiana to the FL panhandle with what appears to be the greatest threat from SE LA to the central FL panhandle.
With the lack of any defined low level center and the critical timing elements over the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, residents along the US Gulf coast should remain alert for the potential for a potential tropical storm or hurricane in the Gulf.
GFS and ECMWF have shown a more aggressive forecast today with 90L compared to the previous runs and western Caribbean Sea tropical cyclones in October should always be watched closely given usually very favorable conditions and extremely warm waters. Based on satellite images it appears a tropical storm may form over the next 24-36 hours as the system moves into the western Caribbean Sea and then conditions appear at least generally favorable for continued intensification across the Gulf of Mexico.