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Tropical Center

Depression Likely to Form over Western Gulf of Mexico

Wednesday June 16, 2021 11:35 PM EDT

A tropical depression is likely to form over the western Gulf of Mexico during the next 48 hours within a broad area of low pressure currently designated as Invest 92L. At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Invest 92L was located at latitude 20.0°N and longitude 93.6.W which put it about 220 miles (355 km) east-southeast of Veracruz, Mexico. Invest 92L was moving toward the north-northeast at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 25 m.p.h. (40 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1008 mb.

The weather system designated as Invest 92L was actually a complex circulation consisting of parts of several different weather features. A broad surface low pressure system extended from the Eastern North Pacific Ocean across Mexico over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. The northern end of a tropical wave at the surface was over the Yucatan Peninsula and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. A low pressure system in the middle and upper troposphere was over the western gulf of Mexico and eastern Mexico. An upper level ridge was over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Thunderstorms were occurring in bands on the eastern periphery of the broad surface low. Drier air in the middle and upper levels was over the western Gulf of Mexico and the drier air was inhibiting the formation of thunderstorms in other parts of Invest 92L. Several small circulation centers formed within clusters of thunderstorms on the eastern side of the broader low during the past two days. Those centers moved toward the west-southwest and dissipated over Mexico.

The environment around Invest 92L will become more favorable for the formation of a tropical depression during the next 36 hours. Invest 92L will move over an area where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 29°C. The upper level low and the upper ridge will interact to produce southerly winds which will blow toward the top of Invest 92L. Those winds will cause moderate vertical wind shear, but they will also be a source of upper level divergence to the east of Invest 92L. The upper level divergence will cause the surface pressure to decrease slowly . The drier air over the western Gulf of Mexico will continue to inhibit the formation of thunderstorms on the western side of the broad low pressure system. The inner end of a rainband will wrap closer to the center, but most of the thunderstorms are likely to remain in the eastern half of Invest 92L. The National Hurricane Center indicated that the probability is 80% that a tropical depression will form during the next 48 hours.

The upper level low and the upper ridge will steer Invest 92L slowly toward the north during the next 48 hours. On its anticipated track the low pressure system could approach the coast of eastern Texas and Louisiana by Friday night. Invest 92L could be a tropical depression or a tropical storm when it approaches the coast. It will likely drop locally heavy rain when it moves inland.