Friday Afternoon Update On The Tropics

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 4:52 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - We're tracking Tropical Storm Laura and Tropical Depression Fourteen Friday afternoon. Both systems are expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico early next week. The main impacts from TD 14 should be in Texas and Louisiana, but we may see some impacts in the Wiregrass from T.S. Laura.

As of Friday afternoon, Laura is rather disorganized, moving through the Northern Lesser Antilles. A general track to the WNW will continue into the weekend, but with a center that reformed farther south, the system is likely to encounter more land interaction with the islands of the Caribbean, helping to keep a lid on strengthening. Eventually, the circulation will move into the Gulf of Mexico around Monday.

A key takeaway as of Friday afternoon: the reformation of the center farther south and a strengthening of the upper-level high pressure system to the north, means the future track is shifting westward...and may continue to shift westward. While the official NHC track Friday afternoon shows a hurricane approaching SE Louisiana midday Wednesday, that is far from a certainty. A shift even farther west wouldn’t be surprising, which is excellent news for the Wiregrass. We’ll keep watching.

The intensity forecast remains a challenge. There are some usually reliable models still showing Laura as a weak tropical system moving through the Gulf, while some of the hurricane-specific models blow Laura up into a major hurricane. Intensity forecasts are always a challenge for the computer models, especially when a system is forming. We should have a better feel for the future intensity later in the weekend as we observe how the system is forming. The upper-level steering currents are shaping up to put much of Texas and Louisiana at risk of perhaps two tropical landfalls in the same week. -David

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