Meteorologists: Where weather system ends up remains to be seen
A broad, low-pressure area in the Bay of Campeche has a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression in the northwest or central Gulf of Mexico later this week, the National Hurricane Center reported Monday. Widespread rainfall is expected over the weekend, but the system’s track and intensity remain very uncertain.
“We don’t want to freak you out; we just want to let you know that this is what’s out here,” Chanelle Stigger, National Weather Service Lake Charles meteorologist, said during a Facebook live video Monday. “We are monitoring it day by day, and if it ends up developing into something, you will be the first ones we let know.”
NWS Lake Charles Meteorologist Donald Jones described the system as a “large, sloppy mess” that could bring widespread rain, no matter where it ends up going. Some areas may get 10-15 inches of rain, but it’s too early to give out exact rainfall totals, Jones said.
“Exactly where that is going to wind up setting up remains to be seen, depending on the organization and the structure of the tropical system as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.
Jones said the system isn’t expected to reach hurricane strength.
Conditions are favorable for the system to develop into a tropical depression, with water temperatures in the Bay of Campeche and the Gulf of Mexico both above 80 degrees, Sitgger said.
Another newly-formed tropical depression in the Atlantic Ocean off the North Carolina coast poses no threat to Southwest Louisiana or along the eastern U.S. coastline, Stigger said.
Forecasters are also monitoring a tropical wave off the coast of Africa that has a 20 percent chance to develop. However, that threat is expected to drop later in the week once it reaches the central Atlantic Ocean.