Fox News Weather Center

Tropical System May Develop in Gulf of Mexico Next Week

Showers and thunderstorms will gather in the southwest Gulf of Mexico this weekend and may have the potential to organize into a tropical system during next week.

According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "In order for a system to form in the Gulf of Mexico, it will have to fight a zone of strong wind shear extending across much of the southern Atlantic basin and dry air over the Southeastern states."

Wind shear is a rapid change in direction and speed of air flow at different levels of the atmosphere. Wind shear can prevent a tropical system from forming or cause an organized tropical system to weaken.

"Wind shear has been a major deterrent in the Atlantic this year, and now that we are well into October, the shear tends to increase throughout the basin," Kottlowski said.

Even though there is uncertainty as to whether or not a tropical system will develop in the Gulf next week, there will be some sort of storm taking shape.

"Whatever feature forms in the Gulf, it is most likely to be steered northeastward," Kottlowski said. "A tropical storm or hurricane has never hit the Texas coast this late in the season."

Interests ranging from petroleum rigs to cruise and fishing interests as well as coastal communities throughout the Gulf of Mexico region should closely monitor the progress of the disturbed weather.

Main impacts, regardless of tropical development, are likely to be a swath of drenching rain and perhaps gusty winds and rough seas. With the projected steering winds, any heavy rain that develops could easily be carried into part of the Southern states next weekend.

The rainfall potential could be especially of interest for South Carolina, following historic rainfall in early October. Major rivers that flooded last week will recede into the last part of October, provided no new storms with heavy rain hit South Carolina.