MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - It's August once again and for those of us along the Southeast it means keeping a closer watch for developing tropical systems. Just six days into the month, we have our first system to develop, and thankfully it will stay well away from the Gulf Coast. Tropical Storm Franklin came together in the northwestern Caribbean Sea just a short while ago, bringing about tropical storm watches and warnings from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) along the Central American and Mexican coastlines.
At the present time, this system has maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (35 knots) with a closed, well-defined circulation in the southwest portion of the storm. It’s because of this criteria that the NHC named Franklin as the sixth tropical storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
Over the next couple of days this storm is expected to strengthen thanks to the environment it is encountering. The very warm waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico coupled with a very low shear environment (lack of winds changing direction vertically) will allow for better storm structure and organization. The only impeding factor to the strengthening of Franklin will be its interaction with land. By very early Tuesday morning Franklin will be making landfall with the eastern shores of the Yucatan Peninsula for its first landfall. Shortly after, it will enter the Bay of Campeche and re-intensify before making a second landfall Wednesday night into Thursday along the eastern shores of mainland Mexico.
Again, in terms of impacts for the Gulf Coast, this storm will have hardly any. The mainly west-northwesterly track of Franklin will keep impacts confined to Mexico, so if you are going to be travelling on vacation to any location along the Yucatan Peninsula this week, you may want to hold off. With a stormy week ahead for us here in the Meridian area, the tropical moisture pushing north with this system will feed thunderstorm activity for the week ahead. Otherwise, Franklin won’t be bothering us while on its journey through Mexico.