While forecasters still have more questions than answers about an unusual weather system that could form in the Gulf of Mexico this week, the chances it will bring heavy rainfall to Galveston County have declined since Monday, officials said.
“I would say there’s still a chance, but it looks smaller than it was yesterday,” said Scott Overpeck, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in League City.
Projections have the system tracking toward Louisiana over the weekend, but forecasters won’t have much solid data until the system actually moves into the Gulf either late Wednesday or Thursday, Overpeck said.
Local agencies were watching forecasts, but had not changed any plans by Tuesday afternoon.
Officials with Texas A&M University at Galveston, for instance, on Tuesday announced the campus would remain open for regular business on Wednesday and Thursday.
A broad area of low pressure continued to move toward the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, with forecasters giving it a 50 percent chance to form into a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours and an 80 percent chance over the next five days, according to the National Weather Service.
The system is somewhat unusual because it’s headed toward the Gulf via the Mississippi River Valley, rather than from the Atlantic Ocean, where most tropical disturbances form.
Until the system reached the Gulf, forecasters will be limited in what they can predict, Overpeck said.
“The main thing right now is just for people to keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared,” Overpeck said. “Hopefully, we’ll have more answers in the next couple of days.”
If a disturbance does form, it would likely make landfall sometime between Saturday and Sunday, Overpeck said.
If the disturbance does form into a tropical cyclone, it would be named Barry.