It looks as though we will start the month off with a new tropical depression. Invest area 99L is trying to organize over the eastern Bay of Campeche, not far off the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula. Overall, conditions appear favorable for this system to develop and it should become a tropical depression later today or tonight over the very warm waters of the region.
The NHC has tasked a Hurricane Hunter crew to fly out and investigate the area and that will tell us a lot more about the structure, surface pressure and wind speeds. I suspect they will find it being close to depression status when they get there later this afternoon.
Track models suggest strongly that a west-northwest path will commence, taking the system in to Mexico in a couple of days. It looks like 100 miles either side of Tampico is a safe bet but since we are talking about a fairly weak system, so far, rain will be the primary concern here.
Speaking of intensity, none of the models indicate any rapid intensification but this does not preclude the chance for modest strengthening before landfall in Mexico. I fully expect that we will see a tropical storm out of this – if so, the name will be Dolly. However, as I alluded to in the previous paragraph, wind will not be as much of an issue as heavy rain will be. The terrain of eastern Mexico rises quickly not far inland from the coast. Flash flooding and mudslides could be an issue as the system moves inland and dies away later this week.
I do not see this system being much of a threat to Texas as strong high pressure parked over the southern part of the United States should keep what ever develops suppressed far to the south. Tropical storms and hurricanes are generally steered around high pressure areas, not in to them. There may be an increase in moisture from the onshore flow and persistent southeast wind but that is about the extent of it.
The rest of the Atlantic Basin is remarkably quiet this first day of September. In fact, I see very little in the global models over the next few days to be concerned with. So, I will stay focused on 99L and its likely eventual growth in to the season’s next tropical depression or storm.
I’ll post more here later this evening once we learn more from the Hurricane Hunters investigating the area.
M. Sudduth 12:54 PM ET Sept 1