Tropical storm may aim for Gulf, perhaps flood portions of southern and eastern US next week


A broad area of showers and thunderstorms, currently over over the Caribbean Sea, has the potential to drift into the Gulf of Mexico and slowly organize into a tropical depression or storm next week.

Slow-moving and repeating downpours will continue the threat of flash flooding and mudslides into this weekend from Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and southeastern Mexico to Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as well as the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

During this weekend, as the mass of downpours begins to drift, an uptick in downpours is likely to spread to part of South Florida and perhaps the Bahamas.

"This disturbance will drift into the northwestern Caribbean this weekend and then into the Gulf of Mexico next week," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

"There is the potential for tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico next week," Kottlowski said of the disturbance.

The next name on the list of tropical storms for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is Michael.

Fishing, shipping and petroleum interests in the Gulf of Mexico and coastal areas throughout the Gulf should monitor the progress of this tropical disturbance.

Even in lieu of a tropical storm or hurricane, tropical moisture will be drawn northward and then northeastward.

The downpours and the feature of interest are likely to be steered around a large area of high pressure that will build through many layers of the atmosphere and anchor along the southern Atlantic coast next week.

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This high pressure area will be responsible for summerlike warmth persisting in much of the South and parts of the Northeast into mid-October.

Risk of renewed flooding in southern, eastern US

It is the clockwise flow of air around the high that will guide the tropical feature into the Gulf of Mexico and then perhaps northeastward through the eastern third of the nation into the middle of October.

"The tropical feature is likely to interact or be absorbed by a non-tropical storm by next weekend," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg.

"As this merge occurs, a copious amount of rain may fall, which could renew flooding problems in parts of the South and perhaps portions of the the Northeast," Lundberg said.

Many portions of the eastern U.S. are on track for a top-10 wettest year on record, and some are coming off their wettest summer on record.

Unusually high river and small stream levels, combined with soggy ground in parts of the East, are a perfect recipe for renewed flooding this autumn should any tropical or moisture-rich non-tropical storm to come calling.

While spotty thunderstorms over the past week have not been enough to renew river and flash flooding in the South or the same in the Northeast, this is the type of setup that could do just that.

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