Tropical Update: Invest 94L Likely to Develop; Watching the Gulf Next Week

The tropics continue to heat up. The tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic was tagged Invest 94L Thursday night. It is increasingly likely that Invest 94L will develop into a tropical cyclone sometime early/mid next week as it heads west. The northwest Gulf of Mexico is also being watched for possible development early/mid next week.

Invest 94L

Model guidance continues to be in good agreement on 94L developing into a tropical cyclone. There are some timing differences. The ECMWF still has Invest 94L undergoing tropical cyclogenesis as it nears 50 degrees west longitude Tuesday/Wednesday.

ECMWF depicting Invest 94L having developed into a tropical cyclone by Tuesday morning. (Tropical Tidbits)

Meanwhile, the GFS keeps Invest 94L as a strong tropical wave while it passes through the southern Lesser Antilles and develops it into a tropical cyclone in the eastern Caribbean Wednesday/Thursday.

Environmental conditions remain fairly favorable for development, and it is likely Invest 94L will develop sometime next week. But it remains to be seen if genesis will occur before or after the Lesser Antilles. Right now Invest 94L is fairly broad meaning development is not imminent. The National Hurricane Center is giving Invest 94L a 60 percent chance of development over the next 5 days.

Invest 94L is westbound and will track into the Caribbean by Wednesday. A large upper level ridge extending from the Gulf of Mexico into the western Atlantic should keep Invest 94L moving generally west and prevent it from gaining much latitude.

The GFS and ECMWF are in agreement on Invest 94L tracking into the southwest Caribbean by Thursday/Friday, and eventually making landfall in Central America next weekend. However, there is still time for some changes. The ECMWF and GFS ensembles both have some members that eventually take Invest 94L into the northwest Caribbean.

Both the deterministic GFS and ECMWF strengthen Invest 94L into a category 1 hurricane in the southwest Caribbean next week. Assuming Invest 94L develops, this appears to be a realistic possibility based on the latest SHIPS intensity guidance which shows favorable environmental conditions persisting.

For now Invest 94L is not a concern the United States or Gulf Coast.

Gulf of Mexico

While Invest 94L appears unlikely to be a threat to the U.S. at this time, there is potential for some “homegrown” tropical development in the northwest Gulf of Mexico early/mid next week from a stalled/decaying front.

GFS showing a weak tropical depression or storm off of the upper Texas coast Tuesday afternoon. (Tropical Tidbits)

Looking at the latest model guidance, the GFS and ICON are the only models showing any development. Both have a weak system, perhaps a tropical depression or storm, developing by Tuesday/Wednesday. Ensemble support is quite limited.

The National Hurricane Center puts that chance of development at 20 percent. Wind shear will be low and sea surface temperatures are more than warm enough for development. Time could be a limiting factor though.

Whatever does form (could be just an area of low pressure or a weak tropical storm) will likely meander into Texas Thursday.

Latest 1-7 day quantitative precipitation outlook from the Weather Prediction Center. (WPC/NWS/NOAA)

Regardless of development, beneficial rainfall is likely for parts of south Texas and Louisiana. The stalled/decaying front itself will also bring unsettled weather to parts of the central Gulf Coast through next week.

The next names on the list are Bonnie and Colin.

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Caleb Carmichael
Caleb Carmichael

Caleb is the owner of Gulf Coast Storm Center. He is currently an undergraduate student at Mississippi State University majoring in geoscience with a concentration in broadcast and operational meteorology. While not yet a meteorologist, Caleb has been providing weather updates, news, and analysis for the Gulf Coast since 2014.

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