9:45 AM CDT | September 3, 2018
We now have Tropical Storm Gordon entering the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center upgraded "Potential Tropical Cyclone 7" to a tropical storm at 7:30 AM this morning. It is currently located near the tip of Florida. It looks very healthy on satellite right now, and most models seem to be underestimating its current organization. RECON is currently investigating the system and gathering data. This data will then be available for later model runs today. This should help the models get a better handle on its structure, future intensity, and track. Below is a look at the current forecast from the National Hurricane Center.
There are a few things worth noting. First, look at the steering winds for a tropical cyclone with winds of 45kts or less (approx. 52mph or less). Then, look at the steering winds for a tropical cyclone with winds between 45kts and 60kts (approx. 52-69mph). This suggests that a stronger system will have a more westerly component with its track than a weaker system. Usually, this is not the case as *most* stronger cyclones tend to be more influenced by the westerlies and track more poleward as a result. Nonetheless, the current analysis from CIMSS shows otherwise. This could be why some of the stronger guidance shows Gordon making a Louisiana landfall and tracking into Northeast Texas. I am not trying to cast doubt on the official forecast by any means - what the NHC has is still the most likely scenario at this time. I am just saying that folks near the "cone of uncertainty" should continue to pay attention as well. Any sudden changes in intensity could influence the track and model guidance. It is not uncommon for organizing systems to have a few "wobbles" that can shift the track as well. With this in mind, folks along the northern gulf coast should keep a close eye on Gordon. Gulf temperatures are running above normal, so there is a good amount of heat available to this developing system. The main limiting factor will be the time over water, unless it were to slow down and/or take a more westerly track.
If the current forecast were to pan out, which takes Gordon into Southern Arkansas and Southeast Oklahoma, only far Northeast Texas could see some brief impacts. If the system were to track along the western edge of the "cone of uncertainty", then the northeast quarter of the state would see some impacts. For official weather information, visit the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service websites. I will continue to update the blog, so check back for the latest updates!