The next storm name on the list for the 2011 Atlantic season is Lee – a name we might all be quite familiar with by Monday. The Wednesday evening computer model tracks are all over the place, from SW Texas to S Alabama. What’s important to point out is that most of the models take the low in the Gulf to an area just south of us in a couple days. As winds aloft become more-favorable for development, we may see a tropical depression or tropical storm form by Friday. The eventual track and strength are impossible to nail down at this point, but we could see a healthy tropical storm offshore. Check out the latest run of the NAM computer model, valid Friday evening:
Obviously, this solution would mean gusty winds offshore and along the coast for sure, along with heavy rainfall pushing inland and some water piling up along the coast. The problem with this system, even if it’s “just” a tropical storm, is that it may linger along the coast for a few days, dumping some heavy rainfall to the tune of several inches. History tells us tropical systems that remain relatively stationary can dump over 30″ over a four or five day window. While such a scenario is rare, it is possible. So, as we head thru the next couple days, keep close tabs on the progress of the low to our south and be prepared for some sort of tropical impact beginning Friday.