As if our weather hasn't been wet enough lately, a tropical storm that is brewing down in the Gulf of Mexico could mean a very end of the week and weekend for us here in Tennessee.
Models are beginning to hone in on the potential for a lot of rain between Thursday and Sunday as a tropical system lifts north from the Gulf and a deep trough settles in over the eastern U.S. This combination, if it pans out, would result in a lot of rain and cool temperatures for the region, as our summer-less summer continues.
The National Hurricane Center is currently watching a low pressure system that is located just off the Yucatan Peninsula deep in the Gulf of Mexico, and gives this strengthening system an 80 percent chance of tropical cyclone formation in the next 48 hours.
Exactly how strong this storm will become remains to be seen. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to fly into the system to investigate it later today, but the bottom line is that as it moves over the warm waters of the open Gulf, it is expected to begin to organize.
That's going to mean a lot of rain for much of the Gulf Coast this week. Sorry, vacationers; it could mean even more storms and rain along the coast than we experienced last week, and last week wasn't much fun.
As for our weather, the potential impact will come later in the week, after the system moves inland. The GFS model currently brings it ashore with a bullseye on New Orleans, while the Canadian model is further west, bringing it ashore along the Texas-Louisiana border. But both models show it eventually impacting all of Tennessee, as the tropical remnants get swept up in the deepening upper level trough that will shift its direction from almost due north to northeast, dragging it across the Volunteer State.
The upper level trough would then serve as a focal point for additional pieces of energy that could bring additional rainfall to the region through the weekend.
So what does it mean? Currently, the GFS is showing almost four inches of rain for the northern Cumberland Plateau region from late Thursday through Sunday. Here's the current outlook from NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, showing similar amounts of rain:
It should be pointed out that a lot of uncertainty remains with modeling. The numbers quoted above are from the 0z run of the GFS, which printed overnight, while the following run of the GFS, the 6z, which printed this morning, cut those rainfall totals by well over half. However, the focal point at this juncture isn't the specifics, but the broader features — which are the tropical system to our south in the Gulf of Mexico and the upper level trough developing to our north over the eastern U.S. If the tropical system slows down, the trough will develop and sweep it up before it gets as far north, which will mean less rainfall for us. But those are the finer details that won't be worked out for several more days. The bottom line is that this general setup brings with it the potential for several days of wet, cool weather in our region, and it looks like that's what we'll be experiencing next weekend.
Beyond that, models are now backing off the heat they had been depicting for the end of June and the start of July. That isn't surprising; as I blogged previously, models have been far too aggressive in bringing heat to the eastern U.S. for the days 8-15 period this summer. It does look like temperatures will recover to at least normal for this time of year, and that we'll begin to dry out before wetter weather works its way back into the picture just in time for the 4th of July holiday.
Eye to the Sky is a weather blog by Independent Herald editor Ben Garrett. Garrett is a weather enthusiast who has long blogged about interesting weather on his personal website. He is not a professional forecaster or a meteorologist and information on this blog should not be considered a substitute for forecasts, advisories or other products from the National Weather Service.