Our tropical wave just north of Cuba is getting better organized today and the National Hurricane Center has deemed the system a “Potential Tropical Cyclone.” An aircraft is expected to go in tomorrow to see if the system has a closed circulation. If it does, it will likely be Gordon.
Visible Satellite Imagery of 91L
Models have come into better agreement recently that the storm will achieve tropical storm status over the eastern Gulf tomorrow and Tuesday. Thereafter, the system should follow a steady west-northwest path around a building subtropical high pressure anchored over the eastern U.S. This path would bring the storm into southeastern Louisiana by Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.
European Model: Wednesday Morning (storm entering SE LA)
Current intensity guidance supports a moderate to strong tropical storm, but I must say that storms can be unpredictable in the northern Gulf, especially if they are smaller in structure. A weak hurricane cannot be ruled out at this time.
One development today is that both the GFS and European model moves the storm inland quicker Thursday and Friday versus the slow drift west along the Louisiana coast. They also push the storm and the majority of the weather east of Acadiana. This would be good news for Acadiana as it would keep us under the heavy rain threat for a shorter period of time. On its track across southeastern Louisiana, if it verifies, it would also keep the heaviest rainfall with this system east of the area.
This track is not set in stone yet, however, and fluctuations in both intensity and movement could affect the landfall trajectory and eventual path. Another thing to consider, in the near-term, is the storm’s proximity to Cuba. Sometimes, the mountains of Cuba can pull the circulation southward and force the storm from gaining latitude. We saw this with Isaac back in 2012. Due to this, there are still some questions regarding the finer details of landfall, track, and where the heaviest rainfall will setup. Really not anticipating a huge wind threat with this, as the threat of heavy rainfall and tornadoes will be the more worrisome impacts.
Assuming the current track, Acadiana would receive several days of heavy rainfall Wednesday through Friday. Winds won’t be a threat, but wind gusts of 20-40 mph in squalls could be possible. Keep in mind, regular summertime thunderstorms usually produce stronger winds, so these winds won’t be a big deal. Rain totals of 2-6 inches could be possible through Friday, with higher totals further eastward. If this rain falls slowly over a long period of time (48 hours), I think most of the area will be okay as river levels across the area remain low. Of course, any deviations in track or intensity can change these effects so stay tuned!