System Could Bring Heavy Rain to Southeast U.S.

A weather system over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico could bring heavy rain to the southeastern U.S. this week.  An upper level low over the eastern Gulf of Mexico could transfer enough kinetic energy down to the lower troposphere to spin up a low at the surface.  Air flowing around the eastern side of the low is contributing to upper level divergence over Florida.  The divergence enhanced rising motion over Florida and rain fell over parts of the southern and central portions of that state.

The weather system is forecast to move slowly northward during the next several days.  The Sea Surface Temperatures in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico are 24°C to 26°C.  There is enough energy in the upper levels of the water to support the formation of a tropical cyclone.  The upper level low will create southerly winds which will cause moderate vertical wind shear.  The shear will inhibit development, although those winds could contribute to upper level divergence to the east of the weather system.  Upper level divergence could allow the surface pressure to decrease and a low pressure system could form at the surface.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a special Tropical Weather Outlook on Sunday afternoon on the weather system.  NHC indicated the probability was 40% that a tropical or subtropical cyclone could form during the next five days.

Guidance from numerical models suggest that the weather system will move slowly northward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the next few days.  Counterclockwise rotation around the low will transport moist air northward on the eastern side of the low.  The moist air combined with upper level divergence will create the potential for locally heavy rainfall over the southeastern U.S.  Heavy rain could result in floods in some locations.

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