Updated: 8:15 a.m. EDT
A disturbance tracked across the Atlantic and Central America is moving into the extreme southwestern Gulf of Mexico known as the Bay of Campeche. If a cluster of thunderstorms persists over the warm Gulf water, it might have a chance to organize briefly.
The National Hurricane Center is now giving it a medium chance of developing into at least a tropical depression today or tomorrow. By late tomorrow it is forecast to move inland into Mexico or South Texas.
There is a corridor with a supportive environment for the system to organize and strengthen a little, though it’s narrow. The Mexican mainland is on the left, and hostile upper winds are on the right. We’ll see if it threads the needle.
In any case, the main effect is likely to be a moisture surge bringing heavy rain to the affected areas when it comes ashore.
The tropical Atlantic continues to be covered by a combination of Saharan dust and dry air from the north. A moist passage is developing south of the dry zone, so disturbances that move off Africa have a bit of a runway, but dry air is so close by that, so far, nothing has been able to develop.
The macro factors all appear quite favorable for systems to develop. The upper-level winds are generally conducive, and the ocean water is quite warm. The MJO – the Madden-Julian Oscillation – is a broad pulse that travels around the earth alternately encouraging and discouraging storm development. It is in a mode that would normally support tropical activity in the Atlantic.
The fly in the beeswax would seem to be the dry air. Though sometimes there are smaller-scale issues that discourage tropical development that aren’t obvious.
The long-range computer models show some effort at activity around the end of next week, but they have shown that before. Let’s see. For now … enjoy.