The season’s fifth named storm formed this morning in the eastern Atlantic, but it no immediate threat to land. Invest 92L, the system tracking through the Caribbean, is crossing the Yucatan Peninsula now and unlikely to develop over the next 24 hours while over land. The National Hurricane Center says Invest 92L still has a high chance of developing into a tropical depression or storm Friday or Saturday as it emerges over the warm waters of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.
TROPICAL STORM ERIN
As of Thursday afternoon, Erin appeared to be healthy and possibly strengthening, based on satellite data alone. Per the NHC, Tropical Storm Erin is likely to strengthen over the next 48 hours (through Saturday), but then potentially weaken as it traverses some cooler water and drier air over the central Atlantic early next week. Similar to Tropical Storm Dorian, the system may even dissipate entirely by the end of next week when it moves through this more hostile environment. Regardless, it would take more than a week for Erin to move across the Atlantic and pose a real threat to any land areas. And that’s even if the storm survives.
The area of disturbed weather in the western Caribbean that we have been tracking for several days is moving ashore near the Yucatan Peninsula as nothing more than a disorganized tropical wave. Because of this, the hurricane hunter flights were cancelled today by the National Hurricane Center. When Invest 92L moves back over the warm waters of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Friday, the NHC still gives it a high chance of development into a depression or Tropical Storm. Forecast data suggests, given a weaker system, it would more likely take a northwest track and pose a potential threat to Texas of Louisiana late in the coming weekend.
Regardless of tropical storm formation or track, much of the state will likely receive some heavy rainfall Friday or Saturday due to the northward surge in tropical moisture. At this time, forecast data suggests that the heaviest rain will fall in the panhandle and across portions of North Florida where this tropical moisture (and possible storm) will interact with a weakening or stalling cold front. While the recent drying trend has likely mitigated a widespread flooding threat, localized flooding would certainly be possible where slow-moving and repeating showers and thunderstorms form.