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Tropical wave expected to strengthen this weekend in the Gulf

Invest 96-L, a tropical wave centered in the western Bahamas, is showing better signs of organization as of mid-morning Friday. It now has a high chance to strengthen into a tropical depression over the next five days as it moves across south Florida and into the open Gulf of Mexico.

If this system strengthens into a tropical depression, it would be named Sally.

The National Hurricane Center said Friday that pressures are falling around the wave and winds are increasing, indicating the wave is strengthening. Water temperatures in the eastern Carribean Sea and Gulf of Mexico are in the middle and upper 80s. Warmer water contains more avaialable energy for systems to use and strengthen than cooler water.

This wave of low pressure will bring heavy rain to the Bahamas and Florida through the next few days regardless of tropical development.

A Flood Watch has been issued for parts of Florida’s west coast through Sunday morning in anticipation of rounds of heavy rain through the weekend. Upwards of 3-4″ of rain is possible. Heavy rain is likely outside the watch and may be extended later.

Regardless of where this system goes once it enters the Gulf, the main US impact at this time will be heavy rain and potential flooding. Forecast rain totals through midday Tuesday show pockets of more than 3″ of rain in spots along the coast of Florida and south Louisiana.

There is uncertainty in the track forecast of this wave, with computer models disagreeing where it will go beyond the weekend. The important thing is for residents along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida to stay aware. Mid-September is the climatological peak of Atlantic hurricane season and conditions are favorable for tropical development in much of the Atlantic basin.

WeatherNation will keep you up to date on all changes as they happen with this system!!

About the author
Kara has always been passionate about weather and knew from an early age that she wanted to become a meteorologist. Living in different regions of the country and experiencing weather events ranging from ice storms to tornadoes drove her to pursue a bachelor's degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. Throughout college, storm chasing became a regular event for Kara, where she saw fir... Load Morest-hand the power of the atmosphere. Kara graduated cum laude from OU and decided to further her meteorology education with a Master's degree from Mississippi State University. The deadly April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak struck while Kara was studying at MSU; her first “Dixie Alley” tornado event and an up close glimpse into the destruction of the storms she so closely studied. Her broadcast career began in Elvis’ birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi, where she earned her Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal from the American Meteorological Society. Kara's career has included coverage of all types of severe weather including tornado events, flooding and tropical systems across multiple southern states. Recently she helped cover the 2020 Easter Sunday deadly tornado outbreak in southeast Mississippi. In her free time, you can find Kara outdoors exploring new areas with her mini poodle,Truffles. Kara is also an avid runner and frequently races in 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons.

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