BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Tropical Depression #28 has formed in the NW Caribbean Sea. T.D. #28 is forecast to strengthen gradually as it slowly moves through the Caribbean over the next 48 hours. T.D. #28 will become the 27th named storm (Zeta) of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. That will put 2020 just one named storm from tying the record setting season of 2005.
T.D. #28 is currently in weak steering currents. T.D. #28 will drift slowly NW over the next couple of days. Once it emerges into the Gulf of Mexico Monday evening, T.D. #28 will pick up forward speed as high pressure to its NE pushes it West-Northwest. Eventually an area of low pressure moving out of the Southwest U.S. will take over steering and gradually turn T.D. #28 towards the north and then northeast. How soon this turn occurs will determine which part of the North Central Gulf Coast Region will have to brace for yet another Gulf landfalling tropical cyclone. The current National Hurricane Center cone of uncertainty includes all of LA, MS, AL, and a part of the Florida Panhandle. The NHC warns at this time the forecast track remains a low confidence forecast.
T.D. #28 is forecast to reach a peak intensity of Category 1 Hurricane Tuesday afternoon in the Southern Gulf of Mexico. This will occur as T.D. #28 moves over a more conducive environment for development. The Central and Northern Gulf of Mexico are forecast to be less conducive for development as wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures should limit strengthening and most likely cause weakening prior to landfall. The NHC currently has a strong tropical storm making landfall somewhere along the North Central Gulf Coast Region Wednesday afternoon/evening.
Based on the current NHC track and intensity, the main threats from this system are likely to be surge and strong damaging winds resulting in power outages. Areas around the tidal lakes and along the immediate coast should expect to continue to see a slow rise in water levels over the next several days as T.D. #28 approaches. Tropical Storm force winds could occur as early as Tuesday evening along the LA Coast.
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