Cluster of Thunderstorms Forms over Central Gulf of Mexico

A cluster of thunderstorms formed over the central Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. The cluster of storms persisted on Sunday morning. At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of the cluster of thunderstorms was located near latitude 26.0°N and longitude 88.0°W which put it about 310 miles (500 km) south of Mobile, Alabama. The cluster of thunderstorms was moving slowly toward the north-northeast. Some of the thunderstorms in the cluster were producing sustained winds of 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1015 mb.

A cluster of thunderstorms formed over the central Gulf of Mexico on Saturday and it persisted on Sunday morning. There was not a well defined low level center of circulation beneath the cluster of storms. Visible satellite loops provided indications of several possible centers of rotation in the middle troposphere. Thunderstorms in the cluster generated some upper level divergence that pumped mass away toward the northeast. The strongest winds were occurring in bands of thunderstorms.

The cluster of thunderstorms will move through an environment that will be marginally favorable for the development of a tropical cyclone during the next 18 hours. The cluster of storms will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 29˚C. The southern end of an upper level trough over the central U.S. will produce southwesterly winds that will blow toward the top of the thunderstorms. Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear and the wind shear will inhibit the development of a tropical cyclone. The cluster of thunderstorms is currently forecast not to develop into a tropical cyclone, but some development could occur if a surface center of circulation forms beneath the cluster.

The upper level trough over the central U.S. will steer the cluster of thunderstorms toward the north-northeast. On its anticipated track the cluster of storms will move toward the central Gulf Coast. Bands of thunderstorms could drop locally heavy rain over northwest Florida and south Alabama during the next 48 hours. One band of showers and thunderstorms is currently approaching that area. Heavy rain could cause flash floods in some locations. Some thunderstorms could approach severe criteria.