Imagery from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite has shown some towering thunderstorms within the low pressure area called System 96L, located in the southern Gulf of Mexico. NASA continues to create the imagery from the GOES satellite and NASA satellites are also monitoring the developing low. If it does organize further and become a tropical storm over the weekend, it would be named "Debby."
Its quite likely that the fourth tropical cyclone of the North Atlantic Hurricane Season is brewing in the southern Gulf of Mexico, more specifically, in the Yucatan Channel. The Yucatan Channel lies between Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba.
Tropical depressions seem have have a habit of forming on weekends, and this low appears to be following that habit. On Friday, June 22 at 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT), System 96L was located near 22.5 North and 89.5 West, near the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
The GOES-13 satellite continually monitors the eastern U.S. and provides updated visible and infrared imagery. An image from June 22 at 1601 UTC (12:01 p.m. EDT) shows a large low pressure area near the Yucatan's northern coast with disorganized showers and thunderstorms. In the image, some of the thunderstorms near the center of the low appear to be higher than the surrounding clouds,which indicates they are higher and stronger.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that atmospheric pressure on the surface continues to fall, indicating that the low pressure area is intensifying. Forecasters at NHC give System 96L a 70 percent chance of becoming the fourth tropical depression of the Atlantic Hurricane season, sometime over the weekend.
Meanwhile, System 96L is expected to move slowly northward into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend (June 23-24). The NHC notes "Interests along the entire United States Gulf Coast should monitor the progress of this disturbance through the weekend. Heavy rains and localized flooding are possible across the Yucatan peninsula, western Cuba, and southern Florida through Saturday."
For NASA updates over the weekend, visit NASA's Hurricane Facebook page: http://www.