NHC raises likelihood of storm development in Gulf over weekend

Meteorologists now say it’s more likely than not that a tropical wave in the Caribbean will develop into a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center identified a wave as Invest 95L today, placing its center above extreme Eastern Cuba.

The NHC says the system has a 60 percent chance to develop in the next 5 days – up from the 20 percent chance it was given yesterday.

Spaghetti models of the wave take it through Florida, then toward the northern Gulf next week. Landfall is expected right now near Mississippi or Alabama, though forecasts models are not yet accurate because of the small stature of the wave and the lack of a clear, defined center.

If the storm follows the current models and stays to our east, impacts locally will be minimal, as we would be on the “dry” side of the wave. If it comes closer to Louisiana, heavy rains and gusty conditions could be in the forecast early next week.

Model intensity forecasts make the wave a moderate tropical storm before landfall. Mean intensity keeps the storm at 50-65 mph winds.