Tropical Storm Gonzalo forms in Atlantic; odds of development in Gulf increasing

Tropical Storm Gonzalo has formed over the central Atlantic Ocean, breaking the record for the earliest “G” letter named storm.

Previously, the earliest 7th named storm to form in the Atlantic basin (which includes the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea) was Gert on July 24, 2005.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo currently has maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and is expected to continue gaining strength as it moves toward the Caribbean Sea over the next few days. The National Hurricane Center predicts it will strengthen into a hurricane by Thursday.

This system is small, which makes it more susceptible to drastic changes in strength. Smaller tropical storms are able to strengthen quickly, but they can also be torn apart by dry air or wind shear more easily. Beyond the next 3 to 5 days, there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to Gonzalo’s forecast track and intensity.

Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico, a tropical wave is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms. Gradual development of this system is possible while it moves west-northwestward. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system Wednesday afternoon.

The National Hurricane Center gives this system a 50% chance of developing into a tropical depression or tropical storm within the next few days. If it gains tropical storm strength, it will be named Hanna.

Historically, the average date of 8th named storm to form in the Atlantic basin is September 24th.

Regardless of development into a tropical depression or storm, this system is expected to primarily be a rain maker. Heavy downpours, windy conditions, and rough seas are likely for Texas and coastal Louisiana Thursday through Saturday.

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