Tropical Depression 19 is moving west across the Florida Peninsula early on this Saturday morning. It will come out the other side in the Eastern Gulf, and continue it’s western trek towards the Northern Gulf Coast by early next week.
Based on forecast conditions for this system though, folks along Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama’s Gulf Coast should be preparing for a hurricane. Sea surface temperatures remain above average in the Eastern and Northern Gulf.
That is coupled with low wind shear in the Eastern Gulf, makes a fairly primed environment for future development.
Most models show at least modest strengthening in the coming days, with some still suggesting a run at hurricane strength remains possible.
While there’s a lot of potential for TD 19 to develop in the Gulf, it’s currently a bit tilted, with the low and mid level centers a bit displaced.
This tilt could cause TD 19 to more slowly organize and strengthen if it persists. That’s why the National Hurricane Center is forecasting strengthening, but more gradual strengthening rather than a rapid intensification. That tilt could also lead to a more lopsided system, which would keep most of the heavy rain on the eastern side of this storm. Considering its northwestward track, this would likely lead to very heavy rainfall along the Northern Gulf Coast. This is probably the threat we have highest confidence in with this system moving forward.
For those along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, the Florida Panhandle, and Southeastern Louisiana, preparations should be under way for hurricane conditions now, including high winds, flooding, and storm surge. Tropical Storm Force winds will be moving into Alabama’s Gulf Coast by Sunday night or Monday morning. Keep up to date with this storm and the rest of the activity in the Atlantic Basin using our interactive map below.