The National Hurricane Center continued to track what it called potential Tropical Cyclone Four in the Gulf of Mexico and warned it could develop into the next tropical storm of the season on Saturday while also keeping an eye on a new potential system in the Atlantic.
As of 8:00 p.m. EDT, the Gulf system was approximately 95 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Rio Grande River with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, northwestbound at 14 mph.
“Tropical storm conditions are expected to occur in the warning area over the next few hours,” NHC forecasters said in the public advisory. If it strengthens into a tropical storm, it would be named Tropical Storm Danielle.
A tropical storm warning issued by Mexico has been in effect since Friday, running north along the Gulf Coast from Boca de Catan to the Rio Grande River and continuing up the US coast into Texas from the Rio Grande to Port Mansfield. Tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours, the NHC said. There is no threat to Florida.
Officially, the system has a 50 percent chance of forming in the next two days, the NHC said.
“The system is moving northwest at a rate near 14 miles per hour, and this movement is expected to continue, taking the system through northeastern Mexico and southern Texas tonight,” the advisory said.
Rainfalls of 1 to 3 inches are expected along the east coast of Mexico from northern parts of Veracruz state to Tamaulipas state with some isolated areas exceeding 5 inches. Rainfall in far south Texas ranged from 1 to 3 inches with some higher amounts.
The storm surge threat could be visible up to a foot of shoreline from the Rio Grande Estuary to Port Mansfield, while shore waves could create life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Formerly a tropical wave, Friday morning’s low appeared over Campeche Bay, producing more organized shower activity. If it evolves past depression severity, it will adopt the name Tropical Storm Danielle.
According to Spectrum News 13 weather data, the Gulf waters around the bay are favoring a warm 83-degree sea surface development. Across the bay, sea surface temperatures will only get warmer, up to 85 degrees, and more ripe for development as the low continues its journey northwest through the Gulf.
Also on Saturday, the NHC began tracking a potential system that could form off the coast of Africa.
As of the NHC’s tropical update at 8am, a tropical wave is forecast to be moving off the west coast of Africa sometime on Saturday and conditions could lead to a gradual development as they move west to 15-20mph Moving northwest into the eastern and central tropical Atlantic.
The NHC gives it a 20% chance of turning into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days.
So far, the 2022 hurricane season has gotten off to a slow start, although preseason forecasts call for a year of above-average storm production due to a sustained La Niña and warm sea surface temperatures. Typically, a normal season should see its fourth named storm by August 15 and its first hurricane by August 11, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
But since July there has been tropical calm in the Atlantic basin after a fairly productive June which saw the formations of Alex, Bonnie and Colin – the latter 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 unfavorable dry conditions caused them to suffocate.
The snooper responsible? The Saharan air layer, also known as SAL, has been a major contributor to drying out of Atlantic atmospheric conditions this season. The SAL is a migration of African dust moving west into the Caribbean Sea, acting as a tropical shield, making it too dry for hurricanes to form.
Despite this, NOAA confirmed its preseason forecast of an above-average hurricane season earlier this month, with a range of 14 to 21 named storms. An average year requires 14 named storms.
NOAA expects most storms to occur during the peak of the season, which occurs between mid-August and mid-October.
Hurricane season ends on November 30th.