TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The tropics are starting to heat up this week with one named system in the Atlantic and a tropical depression that could become named in the Gulf.
Tropical Storm Gonzalo
Tropical Storm Gonzalo strengthened overnight and has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. The storm is moving west at 14 mph toward the Windward Island. The current forecast has Gonzalo strengthening into a hurricane before arriving to the islands and weakening as it moves farther west into the Caribbean.
Although the forecast is for Gonzalo to become a hurricane, there is actually a large amount of uncertainty in the current intensity forecast over the next few days for Gonzalo. Models do not have a good handle on whether the storm will strengthen further or weaken before it arrives to the islands.
The longer-range models are in better agreement however, on Gonzalo weakening or dissipating altogether as it moves through the Caribbean.
Tropical Depression Eight
Tropical Depression Eight formed later Wednesday from Invest 91-L in the Gulf of Mexico. It is currently forecast to become a weak tropical storm before making landfall in eastern Texas sometime Saturday. If the depression does organize and strengthen into a tropical storm, it would be named Hanna.
Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for portions of the Texas Coast as tropical storm force winds are possible as early as Friday evening.
Right now, the depression has sustained winds of 35 mph but continues to show signs of organization and hurricane hunters are flying through the storm.
Regardless of further intensification, the system will produce heavy rain along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Lower Texas Coast. This could result in flash flooding and minor river flooding as well according to the National Hurricane Center.
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