The National Hurricane Center raised the odds of development for a system in the Gulf of Mexico and expects it to become the next tropical depression tonight or early Saturday.
A broad low pressure area now has a 60% chance of becoming a depression or the fourth storm of the year in the next two to five days, the NHC said in a special 11am update. Formerly a tropical wave, it came low on Friday morning over Campeche Bay, producing more organized showers. When it develops, it will be named Tropical Storm Danielle.
The gulf waters around the bay favor development with warm sea temperatures of 83 degrees, according to weather data from Spectrum News 13. Beyond the bay, sea temperatures only get warmer, reaching 85 degrees, and riper for development as lows cruise to the northwest. through the Gulf.
“However, by Saturday night, the system is expected to move inland over northeastern Mexico, which will end the chances for development,” said NHC specialist Jack Beven. “Regardless of development, this system could cause heavy rainfall locally over the weekend in parts of northeastern Mexico and south Texas.”
A US Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to survey the system later this afternoon.
So far, the 2022 hurricane season has gotten off to a slow start, despite preseason forecasts requiring a year of above-average storm production due to ongoing La Niña and warm sea surface temperatures. Normally, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a normal season should experience its fourth storm on August 15, and its first hurricane on August 11.
But since July, the Atlantic Basin has been experiencing tropical lull after a fairly productive June, which saw the Alex, Bonnie and Colin formations — the latter of which had fizzled out in early July. In early August, the NHC tracked a few different short-lived systems with the potential to form into depressions or tropical storms, but adverse dry conditions made them disappear.
The sniffer responsible? The Saharan air layer, also known as the SAL, has been instrumental in drying out the atmospheric conditions of the Atlantic this season. The SAL is a migration of African dust moving westward into the Caribbean, acting as a tropical shield and making it too dry for hurricanes.
Despite this, earlier this month, NOAA confirmed its season forecast of an above-average hurricane season with a range of 14 to 21 named storms. An average year calls for 14 named storms.
The NOAA expects most storms to develop during the peak of the season, which occurs between mid-August and mid-October.
The hurricane season ends on November 30.