Tropical Storm Dolly could bring torrential rain, mudslides to Mexico coast


Visible satellite image of Tropical Storm Dolly, which formed in the Bay of Campeche on Monday. (NOAA)

Tropical Storm Dolly formed in the Gulf of Mexico early Tuesday morning, having strengthened from Tropical Depression Five, which spun up from an area of thunderstorms on Monday afternoon. Located in the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico, the tropical storm is not forecast to impact the U.S. coast, though could bring life-threatening flooding and mudslides to Mexico’s mountainous terrain.

Given the storm’s short amount of time over the warm waters of the Gulf, and the moderate wind shear around the system, Dolly is not forecast to intensify before making landfall in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas Tuesday night. The tropical storm is expected to come ashore with 60 mph sustained winds, and gusts up to 70 mph.

However, Dolly’s rainfall will be the biggest threat to the coast of Mexico. Five to 10 inches of rain is possible, while up to 15 inches could fall in the higher elevations. The heaviest rain will fall south of the center of the storm, where the strongest thunderstorm activity has been located due to the presence of dry air to the north.


Track and intensity forecast for Tropical Storm Dolly. (NHC)

Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters writes about Dolly’s appearance in history:

Dolly’s formation on September 2 comes more than a week later than the usual formation date of the Atlantic’s fourth named storm, August 23. The 2014 version of Tropical Storm Dolly is the eighth appearance of a storm named Dolly in the Atlantic. Dolly made its first appearance in 1953 as hurricane that weakened before passing over Bermuda. Dolly’s most recent appearance, as a 2008 Category 2 hurricane that hit near the Texas/Mexico border, was its most damaging–$1.5 billion in losses were recorded. This was not enough to get the name Dolly retired, though, and I expect we will see the name Dolly get recycled again in 2020. (The record number of appearances of a storm name for the Atlantic is ten, held by Arlene.)

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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