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article imageTropical 'Home Brew' system threatens Gulf Coast this week

By Karen Graham     Jul 9, 2019 in Environment
A broad low-pressure area has emerged over Apalachee Bay in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. In their 2 p.m. forecast Tuesday, forecasters estimated there’s an 80 percent chance of Tropical cyclone formation in the next few days.
Accuweather is describing the low-pressure system's formation as a "homebrew." This is because non-tropical storms that originate over the U.S. mainland and then continue to develop just offshore over the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic into tropical systems are often referred to by meteorologists as "homebrew" tropical storms.
There is an 80 percent chance that the system becomes a named tropical system in the next five days, AccuWeather meteorologists and the National Weather Service are predicting. As far as exactly where the area of development will be is still an unanswered question.
Forecasters do know the system will cover a large area that stretches from the Florida Panhandle west to south-central Louisiana. And with the slow westward drift of this system over the Gulf of Mexico, how far away from the coast the center forms is likely to determine how strong the feature will become.
NHC forecast for North Atlantic  Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico as of 2:00 p.m. July 9  2019.
NHC forecast for North Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico as of 2:00 p.m. July 9, 2019.
National Hurricane Center
Very heavy rainfall amounts appear the be the greatest concern, with initial estimates of between 7 and 15 inches of rain falling over the next seven days. However, near and just north of where the center of the storm makes landfall, rainfall is likely to increase at an exponential rate.
In addition, this system could produce wind and storm surge impacts later this week or this weekend from Louisiana to the Upper Texas coast. "Portions of southern Louisiana could pick up 1-2 feet of rain from late this week through the weekend," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
An Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the low on Wednesday and more data will then be available on any future formation, according to the NHC.
"A second concern we have is for storm surge flooding," Kottlowski said. Even a relatively weak, slow-moving tropical storm, on its eastern side, can pump a significant amount of water northward from the Gulf of Mexico. And if the storm does move over Louisiana, it will have the potential to create a catastrophic rainfall event like the five-day August 2016 storm that dumped more than 25 inches of rain on the Baton Rouge area.
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