Weekend showers expected in Pensacola ahead of two tropical depressions approaching Gulf

Scattered showers are expected in Pensacola this weekend, but not from the pair of newly formed tropical depressions that appear to have their sights set on the Gulf of Mexico.

The two storms, Tropical Depression 14 and Tropical Depression 13, are expected to move into the Gulf around Sunday and Tuesday, respectively. 

But the two tropical depressions are not expected to get close enough to Florida this weekend to bring significant precipitation to Pensacola.

“We’re not expecting TD 13 to have any impacts at this time, it’s still way too far out to know any impacts in our area. Especially because even if it makes its way to the Gulf, we don’t know how much rain we’ll get from it or any of that,” said Brandon Black, meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Mobile, Alabama, adding that TD 13 was still well east of the northern Leeward Islands as of Thursday morning. 

The cone for TD 14 is projected to be well west of the Panhandle, just south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by the end of the weekend into Monday morning. TD 13 is currently heading toward the Bahamas and shouldn’t approach the Gulf until Tuesday, or the middle of next week. 

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The only domino effect for this weekend’s purposes, Black added, is a likely increased rip current risk at Pensacola Beach, courtesy of TD 14’s forecast move into the Gulf. 

“We’ll start to see some waves come up on the beach but outside of that, those storms will still be quite far from our area this weekend,” he said. 

Afternoon showers and thunderstorms, akin to the standard summertime storm pattern Pensacola has experienced in the past month, are on the horizon for Friday, Saturday, Sunday. 

“You might have some storms just off the coast during the morning, and then by about 2 to 4 p.m. you’ll start to see storms develop along the sea breeze, usually in the Pensacola area, that’ll kind of spread into the late afternoon and evening hours,” Black said. “And that’s kind of what we’re expecting. Just maybe with slightly higher rain chances because we have an upper-level trough just to our west that will be kind of weakening as the weekend goes on.”

What the latest on Tropical Depression 13 and 14?

National Hurricane Center forecasters on Thursday expected TD 13 to ramp up to a weak hurricane with 75 mph winds by early next week.

Its current path includes most of Florida, with the center of the cone of uncertainty cutting through the Keys Monday into Tuesday before making its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

The NHC has also started issuing advisories on TD 14, which was over the central Caribbean on Thursday. TD 14 is forecast to become a tropical storm with a path that takes it into the northwest Gulf of Mexico.

It will be a race to see which tropical depression may reach tropical storm strength first with 39 mph winds as that benchmark. The next names on the 2020 hurricane list are Laura, Marco and Nana.

But the designation of another tropical depression raises the chances that there could be two systems spinning in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time.

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said there have never been two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time.

There is precedent, however, for two tropical storms to occupy the Gulf simultaneously.

According to Klotzbach, the 1933 storms dubbed Treasure Coast and Cuba-Brownsville, and the 1959 storms Beulah and an unnamed system were in Gulf of Mexico together.

“It is unusual, but we’re in the active part of the hurricane season and we are ramping up to the peak,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Walker.

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