TROPICAL DEPRESSION 26 — One to watch very closely. Depression growing more organized in the Western Caribbean. Tropical Storm #Delta likely to form later today, with growing potential for hurricane strike to the Gulf Coast late week.
Official NHC forecast brings Delta to a Category 2 Hurricane with max winds of 105mph on a path towards Louisiana by Friday. Would not surprise me to see this reach Major Hurricane intensity in the Central Gulf before slight weakening on approach to land.
Cone of uncertainty ranges from the FL Panhandle to the TX/LA border. Remember, the average 4 and 5 day NHC track forecast error is 160-200 miles. This track is not set in stone.
Plenty of question marks remain as to exactly where this system will go & what strength the system will be. Environment in the Gulf & Caribbean does look indicative of strengthening. Some models quite bullish on intensity, but high uncertainty in the intensity forecast remains. I always say, prepare for one category above the forecast, just in case.
Water temperatures in the northern Gulf have cooled significantly over the last 3 weeks due to Hurricane Sally churning up the water & recent cold fronts. This is good news, but it doesn’t mean to let your guard down.
Water temps still supportive of hurricane development, but the cooler northern Gulf water would likely hinder further intensification & possibly weaken a system slightly as it moves in the northern Gulf. Still bears close watching…as central/southern Gulf water is still plenty warm for hurricane formation.
Review your hurricane preparation plans. Be ready to put them into action.