HOUSTON - Over the weekend, a tropical disturbance developed in the central Caribbean.
The Hurricane Center has designated it 97L for purposes of track forecasting. There appears to be a broad low pressure area that I have outlined in green on the satellite picture. The disturbance is moving slowly northwest, and if it holds together, could enter the Gulf of Mexico late Thursday or Friday.
If it develops more on the north end of the broad low pressure area, the most likely track would be into the southeastern Gulf.
If it develops further south or stays disorganized, it should cross the Yucatan and move into the southern Gulf/Bay of Campeche.
Right now, conditions look rather unfavorable for significant development. All the cloud-free skies to the west of the disturbance indicate dry air, so even though it is moving over very warm water, it will take time for the air to gain moisture.
Although upper level winds will be marginally conducive for storm development, while 97L is over the Caribbean, our approaching cool front which is forecast to move off the Texas coast on Saturday will increase westerly winds across much of the gulf starting Friday and continuing through the weekend. These strong winds and dry air should inhibit significant development over the weekend.
The hurricane hunters are scheduled to fly into the area Thursday, should conditions warrant.
The cold front moving through on Saturday should prevent any impact from 97L on our area.
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