Tropical development possible across southwestern Gulf early next week, what it means for Acadiana

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A broad area of low pressure has been tagged by the National Hurricane Center as having a 60% chance for tropical development within the next five days.

Satellite imagery still shows a broad circulation across the Bay of Campeche in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, but this system should become better defined as convection continues to blow up in and around the disturbance. The system is also under a low (5-10 knots) wind shear environment and is expected to remain in a favorable shear profile through the early parts of next week. This is due to a ridge of high pressure building over the south-central U.S. along with an upper-level trough across the central Caribbean. This is creating an environment where winds are divergent aloft over the system. The environment also looks plenty moist through the early parts of next week. The one big question with this system is if and when it moves over land, as some models take it westward, moving inland across Mexico as early as tomorrow night/Monday morning, while other models hug the coast, keeping it over water through much of next week. Whatever remains of the system in 2-4 days could move more northward towards Texas/Louisiana by the middle and end of next week. 

Recent model runs are jumping on board with at least minimal tropical development heading through early next week. The 12Z European develops the system into a possible tropical storm, moving it west-northwest towards Mexico and trying to tug it north for the middle and end of next week. The 12Z GFS, however, moves the system inland over Mexico early next week and keeps it inland. It does, however, swing deep tropical moisture into the area by the middle and end of next week. 

Most intensity guidance shows nothing more than a tropical storm at this time. If it does acquire a name, it would be Barry. Regardless of development, the system will increase moisture in our atmosphere and increase our rain chances Wednesday through Saturday. This would be more unwanted water on the Red and Mississippi rivers. We’ll have more on this system through the next few days. 

~Meteorologist Trevor Sonnier 

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