Formation of a “home brew” tropical storm appears more likely as a growing mass of drenching showers and gusty thunderstorms over the northern Gulf of Mexico is forecast to congeal as the week progresses.
Non-tropical storms that originate over the U.S. mainland and then develop just offshore over the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic into tropical systems are often referred to by meteorologists as “home brew” tropical storms.
“AccuWeather meteorologists believe this system has a high chance of becoming a tropical depression and could become Tropical Storm Barry later this week,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
There is an 80 percent chance that the system becomes a named tropical system in the next five days, AccuWeather meteorologists predict.
“The exact track and strength of the feature is uncertain until it moves over the northern Gulf of Mexico and becomes better organized during the middle part of this week,” Kottlowski said.
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Marissa Whitman, 20, wades in about 3 feet of floodwater from the swelling Mississippi River, while guiding a boat carrying her boyfriend Brendan Cameron and his mother, Tory Cameron, to their home along Pet Street, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in East Foley, Mo. “I just need to see if the water reached inside,” said Tory. The family had to evacuate Saturday when the water rose suddenly. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
A slow westward drift of this area of disturbed weather is expected much of this week. However, how far away from the coast the center forms is likely to determine how strong the feature will become.
A center that forms right near the coast may not get very strong due to frictional effects of the land.
A center that forms a 100 miles or more offshore could strengthen quickly in the low wind shear environment with water temperatures in the 80s to near 90 F.
“Our greatest concern is for torrential rain that would result in significant flooding,” Kottlowski said.
Given the westward, slow-moving nature of the storm, a general 2-8 inches of rain is likely from the Florida Panhandle to the upper part of the Texas coast.
However, near and just north of where the center of the storm makes landfall, rainfall is likely to increase at an exponential rate.
“Portions of southern Louisiana could pick up 1-2 feet of rain from late this week through the weekend,” Kottlowski said.
Southeastern Texas may also receive similar rainfall, but only if the storm were to move ashore along the western Gulf coast.