The system has a 30% chance of developing into at least a tropical depression within five days. It will be named Mindy if it strengthens into a tropical storm.
It’s too soon to tell how much of a threat the system could be to Louisiana. Forecasters with the National Weather Service said it could bring heavy rain to the Gulf Coast regardless of development, but it is still several days away and things can change.
Much of the region is cleaning up from Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in Louisiana almost a week ago as a Category 4 storm. Thousands remain without power.
Meanwhile in the Atlantic, Hurricane Larry continues to strengthens.
Here’s what to know about the tropics as of 7 a.m. Saturday.
Disturbance heading for the Gulf of Mexico
A tropical disturbance is expected to reach the Gulf of Mexico late this weekend and then head for the Gulf Coast and possibly Louisiana, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 7 a.m., the disturbance was over portions of Central America and the southern Yucatan peninsula. It’s producing disorganized thunderstorm activity and is expected to bring heavy rain to these areas.
It’s expected to move northwest during the next day or so and emerge over the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.
Last year’s hurricane season broke several records, including having the most named storms ever on record.
Once it reaches the Gulf, forecasters said, the system is expected to move north to northeast through the middle of the week.
The shaded area on the graphic from the National Hurricane Center is where a storm could develop and is not a track. The shaded area currently includes parts of Louisiana’s coast.
The National Hurricane Center releases a track when a tropical depression forms or is about to form. The categories, in order of increasing strength, are tropical depression, tropical storm and hurricane (categories 1 through 5).
Forecasters said unfavorable weather conditions could limit development through Monday, but conditions could become “marginally favorable for some gradual development” on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Hurricane Larry in the Atlantic
Hurricane Larry is now a Category 3 storm in the Atlantic, forecasters said in their morning advisory.
As of 4 a.m., it was about 1,140 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is moving northwest at 16 mph.
Larry has winds of 115 mph, making it a Category 3 hurricane. Category 3 storms and stronger are considered major hurricanes by the National Hurricane Center.
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Additional strengthening is forecast over the next day or two, forecasters said, and Larry is forecast to remain a major hurricane through the early part of next week.
Swells generated by Larry are expected to reach the Lesser Antilles on Sunday and will spread west to portions of the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas and Bermuda Monday and Tuesday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Next available name
The next available name is Mindy. Systems are named when they strengthen into tropical storms.
Storms Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate and Larry formed earlier this season. Elsa, Grace, Ida and Larry strengthened into hurricanes.
Last year, there were so many storms that forecasters ran out of names and had to use the Greek alphabet. It’s only the second time in recorded history that the Greek names had been used.
Things have changed for this season. If needed, forecasters will use a list of supplemental storm names instead of the Greek names.
On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the wind categories are:
- Tropical storm: 39 to 73 mph
- Category 1 hurricane: 74 to 95 mph
- Category 2 hurricane: 96 to 110 mph
- Category 3 hurricane (major hurricane): 111 to 129 mph
- Category 4 hurricane: 130-156 mph
- Category 5 hurricane: 157 mph and higher
Carlie Kollath Wells is a morning reporter at NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.