Gulf Coast turns stormy ahead of possible trouble in the tropics
Scattered showers and storms are forecast for the Gulf Coast through the weekend
A rare summer front moving into the northern Gulf of Mexico could help produce a tropical disturbance that the National Hurricane Center will be watching closely for the chance of development.
As of Saturday evening, the National Hurricane Center is giving any type of future disturbance a 20 percent chance of development in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.
Because of the proximity to land, any type of disturbance would likely remain weak but could produce some beneficial rains for Texas as the complex of showers and storms would generally head westward.
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"It doesn’t look like it would last very long if a system did develop, but there’s a long history of storms spinning up quickly in that corner of the Gulf near Texas and Louisiana," FOX Weather hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross explained.
Large parts of Texas and Louisiana are experiencing drought conditions, so the added tropical moisture could be good news for some areas.
Meteorologists will be watching thunderstorms closely around the northern Gulf of Mexico for the chance of slow organization.
Even without any development, the Gulf Coast is in store for periods of heavy rainfall over the weekend and into early next week.
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Rainfall totals could approach 3 to 5 inches, especially in coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The excess rain could lead to flooding along roads and areas with poor drainage. Strong storms are also expected to bring gusty winds and frequent lightning.
In addition to the rain, the disturbance will likely kick up seas and produce choppy surf along the northern Gulf Coast.
Visitors to Orange Beach, Alabama, were welcomed to a beautiful start to Saturday, but officials flew yellow flags, warning beachgoers about the potential hazards in the water.
Rip currents will likely remain a concern through most of the week for some beaches along the Gulf.
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The National Hurricane Center is also monitoring a disturbance halfway between the Lesser Antilles and the western coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.
Forecasters say there is a moderate chance of development before the system impacts the Windward Islands during the midweek timeframe.
"The consensus of the long-range computer models is that another high-pressure system over the U.S. will ensure that it not be able to turn north and will continue across the southern Caribbean," Norcross said.
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