Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally appeared in the weekly weather newsletter, the CNN Weather Brief, which is released every Monday. You can sign up here to receive them every week and during significant storms.
The National Hurricane Center is actively watching four areas right now for tropical development, and two have a decent shot of affecting the US on Labor Day weekend.
We realize talking about your Labor Day forecast a week out might be a touch early, but with the tropics coming alive this week, there are some things we think need to be on your radar.
The main area of concern is still well out in the Atlantic, but it has the best chance of becoming our next named storm (Danielle).
“Although environmental conditions are only marginally favorable, some gradual development of this system is expected over the next several days and a tropical depression is likely to form later this week,” the hurricane center wrote in its tropical outlook.
The disturbance is going to continue its westward motion, then shift gradually northwest toward the Leeward Islands throughout the course of the week.
The hurricane center is giving it a 50% chance of becoming a tropical system within the next 48 hours and an 80% chance of formation within the next five days.
Right now, the forecast models have the storm staying north of the Leeward Islands, making a curve to the northeast, and staying out to sea.
It could have an interaction with Bermuda, but right now, (key words ‘right now’) it does not pose a direct threat to the United States.
It could, however, create a rip current risk for portions of the East Coast, depending on how strong the storm gets and how close the storm gets to the US before veering away.
We’ve told you before trusting a forecast model beyond seven days is something we should not do, because it’s most likely a “fantasy storm.” BUT we are within the seven-day window now, so the next few model runs will be very telling about what the storm might eventually do.
If there is in fact a hurricane offshore on Labor Day, it could have implications for the US, even without a direct hit.
Along the East Coast, we could see gusty winds and even rip currents at the beaches, even if the storm stays well offshore.
The bigger the storm, the higher the seas will be, and stronger the rip currents.
Also, the closer the storm gets to the US, the bigger the effects will be.
I’m not saying this is what’s going to happen, I’m just saying this is definitely worth watching throughout the week.
Development potential in the western Caribbean
Closer to home, the hurricane center is monitoring an area in the western Caribbean for potential development.
“Environmental conditions could support some slow development of the system thereafter while it moves generally west-northwestward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and toward the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico,” the hurricane center noted.
While it only has a 20% chance of development during the next five days, it will be something to keep our eyes on as we head into Labor Day weekend.
Even if the storm does not develop, it will enhance the rainfall in Texas by pumping extra moisture into the state.
This is like what occurred last weekend with potential tropical cyclone four. (See more on the Texas flooding potential below.)
Other areas to watch
There are two other areas the hurricane center is watching for potential development.
One is a tropical wave just off the coast of Africa. The hurricane center is giving it a 30% chance of development within five days.
The other feature is located about 600 miles east of Bermuda and is producing some shower activity. However, further development is unlikely.
“Strong upper-level winds and dry air are expected to limit significant development of this system while it drifts southward and southwestward over the central Atlantic during the next couple of days, and likely dissipate by the end of the week,” the hurricane center predicted.
Strong winds high in the atmosphere typically kill tropical systems, as it will with this one, leading the hurricane center to say it only has a 10% chance of development within the next five days.
With so much to watch in the tropics suddenly, it’s clear we are approaching the peak of hurricane season, which is September 10.
More flooding possible for Texas
After severe flooding occurred in Texas a week ago, more rain is on the way this week. The state could once again get soaked. However, this time the bull’s-eye is farther south, along the coast.
Parts of Texas could see as much as seven inches of rain during this week, mainly in South Texas, in areas not hit as hard from the flooding last week.
Much of the rain will fall on areas in severe or extreme drought conditions.
The flooding threat in the Lone Star State begins today, with areas like Houston, Galveston and Beaumont seeing a 50% chance of more than five inches of rain.
“Tropical moisture and a weak lobe of energy in the upper levels will support numerous showers and thunderstorms across the central and northern Texas coast into southwest Louisiana today,” the Weather Prediction Center reported.
Downpours will be similar to what we saw last week in the Dallas area and around Jackson, so areas in Southeast Texas need to be on high alert for the possibility of flash flooding.
Watch video of the flooding from last week
“By Tuesday, the energy should move inland with the heavy rain threat shifting into central and western Texas,” the Weather Prediction Center added.
Rainfall totals for central and west Texas this week are expected to reach 2 to 4 inches.
The possibility of more rain could occur within heavier downpours, or if storms begin training over a certain area; when storms move over the same area for an extended period with no relief, many times resulting in flash flooding.
Pinpointing where it could set up is impossible, which is why any area with an elevation flood potential should be on the lookout.
With all the rain leading up to Labor Day, you might be wondering what’s in store for the holiday weekend itself.
While it’s tough to forecast so far out, models are showing rain for the Gulf Coast continuing through Labor Day weekend.
Most of the showers and storms will stay across much of the Texas and Louisiana coasts, and the eastern Gulf Coast will see more spotty showers.
We are also looking at the potential for the front to cross the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast through Labor Day weekend.
It could bring periods of rain, but also cooler temperatures on the back side of the front.