11:00 PM CDT | September 4, 2018
Tropical Storm Gordon moved onshore the Gulf Coast this evening. It made landfall in Mississippi, near the Alabama border. As of 10:00 PM, its maximum sustained winds were 70 MPH which are just below hurricane strength. Gordon is likely to continue moving northwest over the next few days before turning northeast. This will keep it to the east of Texas, unfortunately.
The state could have used some rain as we are still battling a drought. Conditions will continue to be at least somewhat favorable for tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Atlantic. For those who believe in the recurring cycle theory, let me illustrate how this is connected to Nate last October and Alberto in late May. On May 21st, I wrote an article titled "Looking At The Big Picture This Week". You can see a loop of the conditions back in October of 2017, but this is the relevant text:
"As mentioned last night, other outlets are beginning to pick up on the potential in the Gulf of Mexico later this week. This is because the weather models appear to be catching onto this as well. I want to take a couple minutes to discuss how this connects to what we saw this fall. Remember, we are in a weather pattern that has been cycling every 47-48 days, give or take a couple days. This means that the same features come into play with each cycle, but they vary to some degree depending on the strength of the jet stream and seasons. Every other cycle tends to mirror each other more closely. Now, the weather pattern we will see later this week is connected to that of which we saw around October 6th, November 22nd, and so forth. You continue that on an average of let's say 47 days, and it brings you to the weather around May 29th...If something does indeed develop, it would be named Alberto."
We did indeed see Alberto form. The system developed off the Yucatan and tracked into the Northern Gulf Coast. It officially made landfall in the Florida Panhandle with maximum winds of 65 MPH. As I note in the article on May 21st, some of the weather models suggested it tracking toward Texas. Ultimately, it tracked to the east - just as Hurricane Nate did in the first cycle back in October and what Tropical Storm Gordon has done. You can view the National Hurricane Center's graphics for Alberto here. Hurricane Nate's archive is available here. You may be wondering, "How is this connected?" In short, the recurring cycle theory holds that a unique pattern sets up every year in the fall, usually from early October through mid or late November. This cycle will repeat with the same features in play until the following fall. The same features cycle, but there are seasonal differences in the strength and location of these features. It was evident that this part of the cycle would prove favorable for low pressure in the gulf last October, as this pattern was first developing. The same part of the pattern repeated several times, but conditions would not support tropical development until May. When the cycle repeated in May, we saw Alberto. We did not see anything in the next cycle around July 15th, partly due to the fact that every other cycle reflects each other more closely. Forty-seven days later would be September 1st. On August 7th, I mentioned that conditions could become more favorable for tropical development by the end of August and early September. This was reiterated on August 23rd. Tropical Storm Gordon formed near Florida yesterday, on September 3rd. Looking ahead, I believe the third week of September will be worth watching. This is not to say that there will not be anything for us to watch before then, but this could be a more active period for the gulf as well.