A tropical wave is located between north-central Cuba and the central Bahamas early this afternoon. Thunderstorm activity is becoming more organized and conditions are becoming more favorable for development into a tropical cyclone. A tropical depression is now expected to develop within the next day or two. The National Hurricane Center has indicated they may issue Tropical Storm Watches for portions of the northern Gulf Coast later tonight – likely including portions of Lousiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
A majority of weather model guidance is in agreement that this system will likely make landfall east of Texas. That positioning would keep any storm surge and wind impacts east of Texas. However, any shift west in the track guidance would nullify that thinking. Until a well-defined low-level circulation develops we’re going to keep a large window.
Depending on the forward motion we could see the system move on-shore near the mouth of the Mississippi River (if that were to be the landfall location) by the late evening hours on Tuesday. That doesn’t give much time for development. We will probably see this system attain tropical storm strength sometime on Monday or Tuesday, but the short time-window in the Gulf of Mexico will hopefully preclude anything more robust. Should it become a tropical storm it will be named ‘Gordon’.
What happens after Gordon moves inland is what may play a role in our weather later this week. A strong high pressure will be located over the northeastern United States. That could prevent Gordon from making the typical north to northeastward movement after landfall. There remain many more questions than answers at this time range. However, it is not out of the realm of possibility that whatever is left of Gordon ends up moving west into Texas. Should that occur we would likely see the threat of heavy rainfall and potential flooding in Southeast and East Texas toward Thursday and Friday.