Let’s take a quick break from Florence and address what’s going on with another storm to watch in the Atlantic basin.
As if the tropics could not get any more active, the potential development of Invest 95L has caused a bit of a stir. An invest is basically an area of disturbed weather or unorganized thunderstorms associated with a tropical wave that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is closely watching for potential tropical or subtropical cyclone formation. As of the 8am EDT Thursday update from the NHC, they indicate that 95L has a 50% chance of development within both the next 48 hour and 5 days. It is worth noting how currently both the European and American models do not have this invest developing.
Currently, the tropical wave is located over the central Gulf of Mexico and is gradually becoming better organized. There is a lot of thunderstorm activity, especially on the eastern side of the wave, while the western side continues to endure wind shear. This shear is expected to relax by Thursday, and a tropical depression could form late-week as it moves northwest. This puts the western Gulf Coast at risk for potential impacts.
From the Mexican coast by the western Bay of Campeche through Texas and Louisiana, impacts are possible. It will move onshore by this weekend, either as a tropical wave, tropical depression, or weak tropical storm. Since the environment is not conducive to produce an intense tropical storm or hurricane and there is not much open water left for this disturbance to intensify (it has until Thursday before it moves inland by Thursday night), a strong tropical cyclone is thankfully unlikely.
With that said, there will still be impacts in the form of heavy rain, localized flash flooding, rough surf, a high rip current risk, and gusty winds. Anomalously high, tropical moisture associated with this wave will work into northern Mexico, eastern Texas, and much of Louisiana beginning Thursday, remaining in place until at least Sunday.
Showers and thunderstorms, some of which are heavy, have been common this Wednesday near the southeastern Texas coast. Some of these storms will lead to concern for flooding, especially with consecutive days of heavy rain possible. On Thursday, we’ll see scattered showers become a bit more prevalent near the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts. A few of those showers will spread farther inland into central Texas as well. Then as the tropical entity moves into Texas Thursday night, a more widespread area of moderate to heavy rain will move in along with it. The best chance for this heavy rain Thursday night into Friday looks to be between Corpus Christi and Houston, while scattered showers affect surrounding areas. As we head into the weekend, that rain will break up and become lighter as it reaches central and southern Texas. Coastal areas will become drier, but the occasional spotty shower and storm will remain possible.
As these rounds of rain move onshore, gusty winds will likely accompany them. Winds may gust in excess of 30 mph, so localized power outages cannot be ruled out. The tropical disturbance as a whole will also promote rough surf and a high rip current risk, especially between now and Friday.
Through Monday night, as much as 5 inches of rainfall will be possible in southern Texas, which happens to be the region with the greatest chance for flooding.