Tropical Storm Emily spun up overnight from a 1,011 millibar low along a lingering frontal boundary in the Gulf of Mexico. The main threat from Emily will be heavy rains over Florida as the system tracks east across the state toward the Atlantic. While not entirely unexpected, Emily is a good reminder of how quickly tropical systems can develop in the warm waters of the Gulf, even with marginal to poor upper-level support.
Looking further ahead, most of the major models are showing an uptick in tropical activity in the Atlantic and Caribbean through mid-August. While this is not unusual for that time of year, it seems likely that we will need to be monitoring systems as they head west over the coming two weeks or so.
Meanwhile, closer to home, lower humidity levels and slightly cooler morning temperatures gave us some relief from the recent muggy conditions. The improvement is due to a weak cold front (the same one that helped to spawn Emily) that drifted off the Texas coast over the past 24 hours.
The remnants of this frontal boundary are expected to linger over the region for the next day or two while the large upper-level high over Texas and New Mexico drifts back west. This should lead to increased clouds and rain chances as we move through the middle to later part of this week. There is even a good chance that another front may reach the coast, before stalling by Saturday. In any case, the current dry spell seems likely to give way to wetter conditions as we move into early August.
At any rate, this will bring welcome relief to local yards and gardens just beginning to reflect the hot temperature and high evaporation rates seen this past week!