Gulf Coast Weather & the Tropical Disturbance
The tropical disturbance we’ve been watching for in the Gulf this week appears likely to become a depression or Tropical Storm this weekend. Beyond that, there is a lot of uncertainty about where the storm will go and how strong it may be. Forecasting the strength of tropical weather is notoriously difficult. The next storm name on the list is Debby. Should Debby form, it’s unlikely it will become anything more than a weak tropical storm with lots of rain and not much else. Most computer models are generally taking the storm over Florida, but several have it heading the opposite direction towards Texas and Mexico.
Where the storm goes will depend on the position of a ridge of high pressure that will have the Tennessee Valley in the upper 90s this weekend. If the ridge grows and moves farther east and parks itself directly over the Gulf Coast, the prevailing winds around that ridge will take the storm to the west. If the ridge is mainly centered to the west the storm will move east and towards the Florida Gulf Coast. This ridge will also block the storm from reaching Alabama and the rest of the Central Gulf Coast. The storm should make landfall and be out of the Gulf by the middle of next week. That means it will not be affecting the beaches of Alabama and Florida during the week of the Fourth of July.
If you’re headed to the beach, this storm won’t have a significant impact on the Alabama Gulf Coast this weekend. While the additional moisture from the developing storm may bring some occasional showers, the main threat this weekend will be from rip currents. Remember, if you find yourself in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore and you will get out of it. With afternoon showers possible the weather and surf conditions can change quickly, so make sure to be aware of the beach warning flags. You can find what each flag means by going to this website: Gulfshores.com Beach Flags.
-Matt Gray, Weather Intern