BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The tropics have continued to produce storms at a record pace this week, but most importantly for us, there are no immediate threats to the Gulf Coast.
Tropical Storm Paulette
Paulette remains a moderate tropical storm as of Wednesday morning as it continues to battle wind shear. That shear is only expected to increase over the next couple of days, which could lead to some weakening. However, the official forecast indicates Paulette could again strengthen a bit by early next week as the shear relaxes. The chances of Paulette ever threatening the U.S. look low at this point, but Bermuda will need to monitor it closely into next week.
Tropical Storm Rene
Rene briefly weakened to a tropical depression overnight but has regained tropical storm intensity as of the 10 a.m. Wednesday advisory. The forecast indicates Rene could still become a hurricane within the next couple of days before likely weakening by late in the weekend into early next week as it encounters increasing wind shear. Rene is forecast to gradually turn more northward with time as high pressure north of the storm weakens a bit. At this point, it appears unlikely that Rene ever threatens the U.S. coastline.
Other Areas to Watch
Time is running short for Invest 94L, the area of low pressure a few hundred miles off the coast of the Carolinas. The National Hurricane Center gives it a 30% chance of development before it likely reaches the coast on Thursday. Regardless of any development or not, rain is expected to be the primary impact.
Interestingly, 94L is part of an elongated tropical wave that may send some energy into the Gulf of Mexico next week. As it stands right now, most models do not indicate any tropical development along that part of the wave, but if nothing else, it will likely bring a surge of tropical moisture into the Gulf, including here along the northern Gulf Coast. We’ll keep an eye on it, but the primary concern here is also rainfall.
And finally, we’re monitoring a strong tropical wave that will likely emerge from Africa on Thursday. Models remain bullish on development with this system and the National Hurricane Center has development odds at 80%. This one likely emerges a bit farther south on the African coast than Paulette or Rene did, so it may have a somewhat better chance of getting farther west in the Atlantic. However, models have been inconsistent on its track, showing a wide range of possibilities. One complicating factor is yet another strong wave right behind it on the African continent that may cause some sort of interaction. Obviously given the distance from the U.S. to Africa, we’ve got plenty of time to monitor trends here.
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