Invest 96-L may be upgraded to a tropical depression or even a tropical storm as early as late tonight or first thing Thursday morning. Invest 96-L is currently located about 290 miles to the southeast of the Texas/Mexico border or at 23 North Latitude, 94 West Longitude. This system is currently tracking west-northwest at a forward speed of 12 to 14 mph. Based on its forward motion, this system, in whatever form it is in will track inland right along the Texas-Mexico border tomorrow afternoon (Thursday).
Satellite imagery indicates that this system has become a lot better organized this afternoon into this evening and all indications are that the mid-level circulation I spoke of this morning is now spinning up and a low level center seems to have formed. Thunderstorm activity has become more concentrated near the center of circulation. Two NOAA reconnaissance aircraft are currently investigating this system and indicate that either a tropical depression or a tropical storm is forming. In fact, the NOAA aircraft have found fairly low surface pressures and winds of 45 mph to the northeast of the center. Based on this, I suspect this will be upgraded to at least a tropical depression as early as 11 pm EDT/10 pm CDT or 5 am EDT/4 am CDT Thursday.
Environmental conditions are favorable for development and intensification right up to landfall which should be during Thursday afternoon along the Rio Grande Valley of extreme south Texas and extreme northern Mexico.
Interests along the coast of southern Texas and northeast Mexico should be aware that Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings will likely be issued late tonight or first thing Thursday morning.
Luckily, this system barely has 24 more hours over water. Any longer, we could have been looking at a huge problem in terms of a strengthening hurricane. At this point, heavy rain with flash flooding will be the main threat from this system. Areas from northeast Mexico northeast through the entire Texas coast and up to the Louisiana coast should expect heavy rain and gusty winds right through Thursday.
I will be monitoring things closely the rest of this evening for possible upgrades to tropical depression or tropical storm status.