The National Hurricane Center began advisories on what it is calling Potential Tropical Cyclone Four for the system located in the Gulf of Mexico.
As of 8 p.m., the system was located about 350 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Rio Grande River with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph heading northwest at 14 mph.
A Tropical Storm Warning issued by Mexico runs along the Gulf coast from Boca de Catan north to the Rio Grande River and continues up the U.S. coast into Texas from the Rio Grande to Port Mansfield. Tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours, the NHC said. There is no threat to Florida.
“On the forecast track, the disturbance is expected to approach the coast of northeastern Mexico on Saturday and make landfall there Saturday night,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven. “Slow strengthening is expected through landfall, and the disturbance is forecast to become a tropical storm ... Saturday.”
Officially, the system has an 80% chance of formation in the next two to five days, Beven said.
Rainfall from 3 to 6 inches with some isolated areas topping 8 inches are expected along the eastern coast of Mexico from the northern portions of the state of Veracruz across the state of Tamaulipas. Far south Texas could see rain totals of 1 to 3 inches with some higher amounts.
Storm surge threat could see 1 to 2 feet on the coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port Mansfield while coastal swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Previously a tropical wave, the low emerged over the Bay of Campeche Friday morning and is producing better organized shower activity. If it does develop beyond depression strength, it will take on the name Tropical Storm Danielle.
Gulf waters around the Bay are in favor of development with warm 83 degree sea-surface temperatures, according to Spectrum News 13 weather data. Beyond the Bay, sea-surface temperatures only get warmer, up to 85-degrees, and more ripe for development as the low continues its cruise northwest through the Gulf.
So far, the 2022 hurricane season has been off to a slow start despite preseason forecasts calling for a year of above-average storm production due to a lingering La Niña and warm sea-surface temperatures. Typically, a normal season should experience its fourth named storm by Aug. 15, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and its first hurricane by Aug. 11.
But since July, the Atlantic basin has experienced tropical silence after a fairly productive June which saw the formations of Alex, Bonnie and Colin — the latter of which fizzled at the beginning of July. At the start of August, the NHC was tracking a few different short-lived systems with the potential to form into depressions or tropical storms, but unfavorable dry conditions snuffed them out.
The snuffer responsible? The Saharan Air Layer, otherwise known as the SAL, has been a big contributing factor this season in drying out the atmospheric conditions of the Atlantic. The SAL is a migration of African dust that pushes west into the Caribbean acting as a tropical shield and making it too dry for hurricanes to form.
Despite that, the NOAA reaffirmed its preseason prediction of an above-average hurricane season earlier this month with a range of 14 to 21 named storms. An average year calls for 14 named storms.
The NOAA expects most storms to emerge during the season’s peak, which occurs between mid-August and mid-October.
Hurricane season ends on Nov. 30.