NEW ORLEANS – The depression churning in the Caribbean continues to move slowly to the northwest right now and is expected to pick up speed as it heads into the Gulf of Mexico later this week. Meanwhile, newer model data show a slower moving storm and a path farther west than previously forecast.
The official track from the National Hurricane Center has the depression staying just to our east as it is projected to make landfall near Pensacola, Florida Sunday evening. While it doesn’t appear we will face the brunt of the storm at this time, coastal flooding, breezy conditions and heavy rainfall are possible this weekend for our area as it moves through.
However, there are still many factors involved in where this will go over the next few days. How much interaction with land in Mexico, how quickly a trough moves in from the north, and how strong the storm gets will all play a role.
The trough will play a key role. The European model has the trough coming into the Gulf and picking the storm up before it reaches Louisiana. The GFS (American) model however has the trough lagging behind and the storm making landfall closer to our viewing area. The European model has been the more reliable model so far this hurricane season but it goes to show you there is a lot of uncertainty at this time due to so many factors at play. The slower the trough ends up moving, the more likely a landfall in Louisiana becomes.
It’s important to be prepared should this storm come to southeast Louisiana or southern Mississippi. While most likely not a major hurricane, we could still deal with tropical weather conditions over the weekend.
We should have a better idea on the future track over the next day or so as the storm becomes better organized and the models can grasp just how much interaction the system will have with the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
As always, stay with WGNO on-air and online for the latest.