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Tropical system in Gulf of Mexico takes aim at summer-scorched South Texas

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National Hurricane Center

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The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season stepped on the accelerator in late August. Three tropical storms emerged over the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in about 24 hours. A fourth tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico took aim at South Texas, with landfall projected for Tuesday morning.

On Monday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine was located in the central Gulf and moved steadily west northwest.

It was projected to become a tropical depression sometime on Monday and then grow into a tropical storm as it made landfall near Baffin Bay, south of Corpus Christi, on Tuesday morning.

The NHC issued a tropical storm warning from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port O'Connor and a tropical storm watch from Port O'Connor to Sargent.

"Heavy rainfall from Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine is expected across South Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday," the NHC explained. "The heavy rainfall may produce areas of flash and urban flooding."

The advisory warned of coastal flooding through Tuesday morning.

It was unclear how much rain the tropical system would bring to the San Antonio area. But Eric Platt, a forecast with the National Weather Service's Austin/San Antonio office, remained optimistic.

[T]here’s a good chance that our area may see some rain for a predicted surface low moving onshore," he said on Sunday. “It’s probably gonna be one of these scenarios where we have to have peak heating to get the shower and thunderstorm activity going, but right we do have rain chances up to about 60 or 70% on Tuesday afternoon.”

Platt cautioned that Deep South Texas would probably see most of the rain, however.

Any respite from the heat will be brief. Triple digit temperatures were expected to return later in the week for most of Texas.

The NHC also monitored three other tropical systems on Monday.

On Monday morning, Tropical Storm Franklin was south of Hispaniola and was expected to move north across the island before strengthening into a hurricane as it swirled northeast into the Atlantic. Beyond that, it was not expected to pose a threat to the U.S. mainland.

Gert was a weak tropical storm located east of the Caribbean Sea. It was expected to weaken as it moved north into the Atlantic. It posed no threat to the U.S. mainland.

The NHC also issued its final advisory on Post-Tropical Cyclone Emily, which weakened to a tropical depression as it also moved north into the Atlantic.

Marian Navarro and Jerry Clayton contributed to this report.

Copyright 2023 Texas Public Radio

Fernando Ortiz Jr.