Tropical Storm Don has formed off the Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico, and is forecast to make a bee-line for the Texas coast by late in the evening on Friday. The storm is weak right now, but is expected to gradually strengthen as it crosses the Gulf today, tomorrow and Friday. The National Hurricane Center expects Don to be a strong tropical storm with 60-70 MPH winds by the time it makes landfall late Friday or early Saturday.
Here's the forecast map for Don, which brings the center of the storm towards a Corpus Christi-area landfall. Click to enlarge in a new tab/window.
Here is what we call a "spaghetti model," which takes numerous computer weather models and plots their forecast on a map, which creates an idea as to where the computers think Don will go. They're all in pretty good consensus that this storm is on track to hit Texas on Friday or Saturday, so it's just a question of "how strong will it be?"
Here's a chart that answers the "how strong" question. The NHC predicts that Don will have winds of about 65 MPH before landfall. This forecast can and will change over the next few days, so be prepared. Click the image to enlarge in a new window/tab.
There are no watches or warnings in effect right now, but anyone on the Texas Coast needs to keep a close eye on this storm. I'll post another update tomorrow morning or afternoon, as we get a better idea of what Don will do.
Here are some links to help you track Don and any other storms that form this year:
National Hurricane Center
National Weather Service
Storm Prediction Center
College of DuPage GOES Satellites
Wunderground Tropical Site
Florida State University Tropical Forecast Models
DailyKos Tropical Weather Link Library
2:26 PM PT: Forgot to add this unfortunate snippet, but since we're talking about Texas it's extra necessary:
As usual, keep politics, meta, pie fights and dickish comments out of here or you'll find yourself in the hidden comments. Several folks have questioned the reasoning and validity of this promise, and G2Geek gave a pretty good explanation.
2:34 PM PT: To address the drought concerns, here's the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center's QPF (Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts) for the next 5 days. They predict about a half an inch to an inch of rain along the Texas coast through next Monday, but that might not factor in Tropical Storm Don. I'm not sure if they put that in there or not. Either way, it'll bring at least some needed rain to Texas.
Here's their forecast map. Click to enlarge in a new window.
2:51 PM PT: Here's a radar image of Don from the Mexican Weather Service. Click to enlarge in a new tab/window.