(CNN) — The Atlantic hurricane season becomes increasingly active with a disturbance drenching the Texas coast this week, and a strong tropical storm called Bonnie forecast to reach Central America on Friday night, weakening as that crosses land
“Get ready for a few wet days in southeast Texas,” the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Houston said Wednesday morning. The tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico will move toward the Texas coast, bringing some much-needed rain as well as a threat of flooding to the region.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is monitoring the area of disorganized thunderstorms over the northwestern Gulf as it is expected to slowly move west, approaching the Texas coast on Wednesday.
“Slow development is still possible and it could become a short-lived tropical depression near the coast before it moves inland tonight or early Thursday,” the hurricane center said.
June’s near-record heat has contributed to very warm water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, a factor conducive to the development of topical systems. However, the current disturbance is time-limited, as it is not expected to remain over warm waters for long.
Regardless of development, tropical downpours associated with this system are forecast across parts of East Texas, a region experiencing extreme drought, the second highest level.
Rain chances are expected to increase on Thursday and Friday, although the timing and amounts remain difficult to predict.
“Weak, disorganized systems like this can be a real forecasting nightmare,” explained the Houston weather service. “Location errors can be very large, leading to large differences in predicted rainfall amounts for any given location.”
The Gulf disturbance is expected to move into southern Texas early Thursday, then north into eastern Texas on Friday. As it becomes clearer exactly where the disturbance reaches the coast, it will also become clearer who is most likely to receive thunderstorms, some of which may produce some heavy rain locally.
“Storms that can remain stationary for a longer time will have a higher chance of producing flash floods,” the Weather Prediction Center said. “Furthermore, urban regions are also at the greatest risk of accumulating water on mostly impermeable surfaces.”
Rain totals along the Texas coast will generally be 50 to 101 millimeters over the next four days.
“However, there will still be a scattered nature of storms developing, so expect wide variations in rainfall amounts where a street may get totals of 1+, while some streets down may have a trail,” said the NWS in Houston.
The added silver lining of rain and cloud cover is that it will be some of the coolest temperatures in quite some time, with daytime highs reaching 26 degrees Celsius.
Atlantic storm could keep its name in the Pacific
Potential Tropical Cyclone Two (PTC 2) is another area the hurricane center is watching for tropical development.
Located about 160 km east-southeast of Curaçao, PTC 2 is moving rapidly west near the northern coast of Venezuela. The rapid movement of the disturbance is likely to prevent it from closing its circulation and becoming an official tropical system, according to the hurricane center’s morning discussion of the storm.
“All guidance continues to insist that the system will slow down in the next few days,” the NHC said, adding that “the system could become a tropical storm anytime today.”
A NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the disturbance.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for several countries in the southern Caribbean. Heavy rains, localized flash flooding, and tropical storm force wind gusts will threaten the region.
“The disturbance will likely be struggling or recovering from interaction with land for the next several days,” the hurricane center noted. “So little enhancement is shown during that time.”
Conditions become much more favorable for a significant strengthening later this week, but whether the system can take advantage of it remains to be seen.
The official forecast calls for a strong tropical storm to reach Central America on Friday night, weakening as it crosses land and emerging into the Pacific, where it will strengthen again.
Unlike Hurricane Agatha, which hit Mexico earlier this year, fell apart and contributed to what eventually became Alex in the Atlantic, the system that is expected to become Bonnie is also forecast to remain intact in Central America. . If it happens, the storm will keep the Bonnie name even as it crosses the Pacific Ocean.
On occasion, tropical systems have made the journey from the Atlantic basin to the Pacific.