Tracking ‘Invest 99’ in the tropics: what we know, what we don’t know

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HOUSTON (CW39) Since Tuesday afternoon, we’ve been awaiting the seemingly inevitable declaration of a named storm. Right now, the National Hurricane Center is calling it “Invest 99”, meaning it is a tropical disturbance that they are investigating, and computer models are now attempting to forecast the track.

As seen on the computer model image, there continues to be a wide range of possibilities once this storm likely enters the Gulf.

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What we know about “Invest 99”:

A disorganized area of low pressure is in the Caribbean Sea, and conditions are favorable for it to organize into a named storm as it moves west/northwest. As of late Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center gives it an 80% chance of becoming a tropical depression within the next 5 days. It will likely head for the Gulf. From there, the outlook is quite murky. Could it become a hurricane at some point? Yes. Could it make landfall in Texas? Yes. Could it completely miss Texas? Also yes.

What we don’t know about “Invest 99”:

Without a clear center of circulation, or good organization, there simply isn’t a lot for computer models to work with right now. Regardless, models will still output data, and will still give possible outcomes for the forecast track and intensity, but those model runs are of very little use right now when it comes to specifics. It’s just too early in the process.

What should Texans be doing right now to prepare?

Continue to monitor the situation. Try to be patient as the outlook will become more clear in the next few days. Know that, if it nears the Texas coast, it wouldn’t be until Monday. Review your hurricane preparedness plans and educate yourself on what you need to do if a tropical storm or hurricane is imminent.

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