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Tropical Moisture to Douse Deep South Early This Week

Regardless of whether an area of low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico develops into a tropical system prior to reaching the Gulf Coast, heavy rain will unleash across the Deep South this week.

The area of low pressure responsible for the heavy rainfall will be moving over the southern Gulf of Mexico late Sunday and will track toward the central Gulf Coast by midweek.

This system being monitored is identified as 99L, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Since this system has yet to reach the Gulf of Mexico, the track of this system could still change over the next few days.

The environment over the Gulf of Mexico is somewhat conducive for tropical development.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey, "Water temperatures over the Gulf are very warm, which should allow for development; however, wind shear is strong over the Gulf which would inhibit development."

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "Wind shear is the changing of wind direction and speed at various levels of the atmosphere. In order for tropical systems to form or strengthen, wind shear must be weak."

"While convection should flourish, it will likely be pushed well east of the center of circulation, which would prevent any development," Duffey said.

In order for a system to become a tropical cyclone, a low-level circulation must be present with organized convection surrounding the center. Should convection be sheared on only one side or disorganized, it is unlikely to develop.

Tropical Moisture Building Across the Gulf Coast

While the chance for development would remain very low over the southern Gulf, conditions could be more favorable over the northern Gulf.

"Shear is slightly more relaxed over the northern Gulf," Duffey said. "While the shear may still be too much for the low to overcome, there is still a slight change it could gain tropical status prior to moving over the U.S."

Duffey mentioned that if it were to develop, it would likely intensify to only a tropical depression.

This system nonetheless contains abundant moisture which could lead to flash flooding in the hardest hit areas along the Deep South.

"Gusty winds, building seas, rough surf, minor coastal flooding and severe thunderstorms may become concerns for petroleum and coastal interests," Sosnowski said.

Rain will begin to fall along the coastal areas on Sunday and continue across much of the Deep South into midweek.

The heaviest rainfall will likely fall to the east of the center of circulation.

"In the absence of flooding rain, downpours would not be a terrible thing for portions of the upper Gulf Coast," Sosnowski said. "Places from the Florida Panhandle to Louisiana are experiencing abnormally dry to severe drought conditions."

Rain will soak areas including Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas; New Orleans and Slidell, Louisiana; Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola and Panama City, Florida.

Those traveling along Interstate 10 from Florida into Texas could deal with wet morning and afternoon commutes to and from work.

Track rain across your area this week using AccuWeather Minutecast®.

Those along the Gulf Coast should monitor this system over the next few days.

While AccuWeather will continue to provide updates on this system, other features are being monitored across the Atlantic Basin.

A feature located between the Bahamas and Bermuda also has the potential for development through early week.

"This feature does not impose an imminent threat for development; however, as shear relaxes slightly and the system remains over open waters, development is possible early this week," Duffey said.

This feature is not expected to pose a threat to the United States. This system, however, will spread heavy showers and thunderstorms over Bermuda.

Ida continues to spin over the open waters of the Atlantic. This feature is expected to weaken to a tropical rainstorm early this week as it slowly tracks to the west.

"Because of the persistent wind shear, the chance of a major hurricane impacting the United States for the remainder of 2015 is very low," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said. "Research from the Colorado State University shows that since 1878, no major hurricanes have impacted the U.S. in October and November during El Niño years."