It appears the second named storm of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be forming in the Gulf of Mexico soon; when the tropical cyclone reaches tropical storm status, it will be named Barry.
After being tracked for days by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), a broad low pressure area has emerged over Apalachee Bay in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for tropical cyclone formation and development over the next several days, and a tropical depression is likely to form by late Wednesday or Thursday while the system moves westward across the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Tomorrow, an Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance “hurricane hunter” aircraft is scheduled to investigate the low tomorrow, if necessary. Such a mission will help forecasters better understand the atmospheric conditions at play that could lead to this system intensifying. Some computer guidance suggests this tropical cyclone should reach tropical storm status, with some also suggesting that the system could intensify to a minimal hurricane before making landfall on the Gulf Coast.
Even if the system doesn’t become a named tropical storm or hurricane, this disturbance has the potential to produce heavy rainfall from the Upper Texas Coast to the Florida Panhandle during the next several days. In addition, this system could produce wind and storm surge impacts later this week or this weekend from Louisiana to the Upper Texas coast, and interests along the Gulf Coast should continue to monitor its progress.
The NHC believes there is a 70% chance that a tropical cyclone will form here within the next 48 hours; those odds increase to 80% over the next five days. Beyond the week, questions remain on where this system will head. It is most likely soaking rains will head into the lower Mississippi Valley and perhaps reach as far north and east as the Mid Atlantic with time. Any impacts beyond the Gulf Coast week will likely happen beyond this week.
Before Barry or any other tropical cyclone forms, residents of the entire U.S. East and Gulf Coast, as well as Hawaii, should make sure they have a Hurricane Action Plan in order. With hurricane season here from now through the end of August, it is imperative that everyone in an area that could be impacted by a tropical cyclone know what they’d do should one impact their area.