Tropical depression could form in southwestern Gulf of Mexico

A new tropical depression could form as soon as Friday in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, AccuWeather forecasters say.

Satellite imagery indicated that a broad area of showers and thunderstorms associated with low pressure that was located over the southwestern Gulf and the Bay of Campeche was becoming better organized.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Friday afternoon that it dubbed the tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico Potential Tropical Cyclone Four and would be issuing advisories on the system as it continues to strengthen.

A tropical storm warning was issued for the lower Texas coast from Port Mansfield southward to the Mouth of the Rio Grande. The government of Mexico also issued a tropical storm warning for areas from Boca de Catan northward to the Mouth of the Rio Grande.

Meteorologists have been scrutinizing this part of the Atlantic basin for days and said there was a tight window of time for the system to form. However, it appears as if the system will spend enough time over warm waters that it could gain strength and become organized fairly quickly.

This budding system has been designated as a tropical rainstorm by AccuWeather forecasters. As of Friday, it has been given a high chance to develop into a tropical depression or storm.

It's the second tropical rainstorm to form in the Gulf in the past week. Late last weekend into early this week, a tropical rainstorm brought heavy rainfall to parts of Mexico and South Texas.

A similar forecast is expected for the coming days.

"This tropical rainstorm is moving over an area of high sea-surface temperatures which can allow a brief window for the system to strengthen into a tropical depression or tropical storm by Saturday," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert.

Regardless of designation, the rainstorm will drench portions of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas with heavy rain. This tropical rainstorm has been rated a less than one on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes for the U.S. and Mexico due to the risk of flooding rainfall.

"Heavy rainfall is expected to occur across portions of eastern and northeastern Mexico as well as southern Texas as a tropical rainstorm approaches from the western Gulf of Mexico," Gilbert said. "A general 1-2 inches (25-50 mm) of rain will fall across the area with higher amounts of 2-4 inches (50-100 mm) along the immediate coast of eastern Mexico and higher terrain south of Monterrey. This can lead to local flash flooding."

The Atlantic basin has been a bit behind schedule this year in terms of producing named storms. The last named storm to develop was Tropical Storm Colin which formed early on Saturday, July 2, off the coast of South Carolina. Since Colin dissipated the next day over North Carolina, no other named storms have taken shape.


Typically, the fourth named storm during a hurricane season develops by Aug. 15 in the Atlantic. The next name on the list utilized to name storms by the NHC is Danielle.

On Thursday, AccuWeather meteorologists issued an update to their 2022 Atlantic hurricane season forecast, which was released back in the spring. After initially calling for 16-20 named storms, AccuWeather's team of long-range forecasters is now predicting a total of 16, which includes the three storms that already formed.

However, AccuWeather forecasters still expect a very active hurricane season with more than three months to go until the official end date of Nov. 30.

"Our thinking has not changed as far as 2022 still being an active season," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Kottlowski said. "Our biggest concern is for a high chance for high-impact hurricanes."

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