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Tropical system could bring heavy rain this weekend

Published: Jun. 15, 2021 at 4:58 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 1:32 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Our primary focus in the days ahead will be an area of disturbed weather in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) gives it an 80% chance of developing as of the 1 p.m. Tuesday outlook but regardless of development or not, the primary threat to the northern Gulf Coast appears to be heavy rainfall.

NHC update as of 1 p.m. June 15
NHC update as of 1 p.m. June 15(WAFB)
NHC update as of 1 p.m. June 15
NHC update as of 1 p.m. June 15(WAFB)

In the short term, the disturbance will likely meander in the Bay of Campeche for a couple more days without any significant change in organization.

It appears as though a tropical wave moving out of the Caribbean into the southern Gulf will give the existing cluster of storms the boost it needs to develop into at least a tropical depression by Thursday or Friday. It is also during that timeframe that it should begin a northward motion toward the Gulf Coast.

While not unusual with a system that has yet to organize, model guidance still shows some significant differences in the evolution and track of the disturbance, resulting in low confidence in the placement of heaviest rains.

Scattered rains should begin to impact our local area by Friday afternoon/evening, with the most widespread and heaviest rains currently looking as though they will fall on Saturday.

The latest outlook from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center (WPC) still shows rains of 5″-10″+ will be possible across much of southeast Louisiana this weekend, although the latest forecast does show a slight eastward trend in the heaviest rains when compared to the previous forecast. This highlights the lingering uncertainty on heavy rainfall placement.

WPC precipitation forecast for next seven days through Tuesday, June 22.
WPC precipitation forecast for next seven days through Tuesday, June 22.(WAFB)

While guidance is in better agreement that anything stronger than a tropical storm is unlikely, winds could still be an issue, especially in any stronger rain bands. The European model shows the potential for tropical storm force wind gusts to reach the Louisiana coast by Friday night and then has some of those gusts spreading inland on Saturday. With that, at least some scattered power outages would be possible.

Euro forecast for wind gusts for Friday, June 18.
Euro forecast for wind gusts for Friday, June 18.(WAFB)

Rains should gradually diminish from west-to-east on Sunday, with a transition back to a more typical summertime pattern by early next week.

10 day forecast as of Tuesday, June 15.
10 day forecast as of Tuesday, June 15.(WAFB)

As we keep a wary eye on the Gulf, weather should remain relatively quiet locally for the next few days. Rain chances will run about 30% today, 20% on Wednesday, and 10% or less on Thursday. Heat will continue to be an issue though, with highs topping out in the low to mid 90s, and heat index values peaking in the 100°-105° range for most.

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