Portions of the south Texas coast are bracing for tropical storm conditions that could bring flooding rains Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning as an area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico appears poised to become the first tropical storm in the Atlantic basin since July 3.
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A tropical storm warning is in effect in Texas from Port Mansfield to the mouth of the Rio Grande and in Mexico from the mouth of the river southward to Boca de Catan.
Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the tropical disturbance Saturday morning, which for now is dubbed Potential Tropical Cyclone Four, to see if it has formed a closed circulation required for tropical storm classification.
The system is located about 200 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Rio Grande, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
It is expected to make landfall as a weak tropical storm sometime late Saturday afternoon or early evening, most likely moving inland in extreme northeastern Mexico just south of the Rio Grande.
The system will be named Tropical Storm Danielle if it organizes and strengthens.
There has been nearly a seven-week lull in tropical activity even though forecasters have repeatedly called for 2022 to be one of the most active seasons in history. Computer models suggest a major change in the coming weeks, however, with favorable conditions across much of the Atlantic basin as the season enters what is historically its most active period.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The National Hurricane Center is also monitoring a tropical wave moving off the coast of Africa that could undergo some “gradual development” over the next week or so. Forecasters are giving the system a 20% chance of developing in the next five days.