The third tropical depression of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which happens to officially start today, has formed and is expected to become Tropical Storm Cristobal soon. The storm is likely to impact the U.S. Gulf Coast in time.
As of 5pm ET, the center of Tropical Depression Three was located near latitude 19.6 North, longitude 91.2 West. The depression is moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph and this motion at a slower forward speed is expected tonight. The depression is forecast by the National Hurricane Center to turn west-southwestward or southward at a slower forward speed on Tuesday, and meander over the southern Bay of Campeche through late Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of the cyclone is forecast to be near the coast of the southern Bay of Campeche Tuesday night through Thursday. For now, maximum sustained winds are near 30 mph with higher gusts. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1007 mb or 29.74 inches.
The National Hurricane Center expects gradual strengthening of this system over the next several days; the depression is expected to be upgraded to tropical storm status later tonight or tomorrow. When the storm becomes a Tropical Storm, it will be named Cristobal.
This storm will bring many hazards to Central America for now. Tropical Depression Three is expected to produce rain accumulations of 10-15″ over parts of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz and adjacent portions of Guatemala. 5-10″ are expected over parts of El Salvador and Honduras. The National Hurricane Center warns that there could also be isolated maximum rainfall amounts of 20″ in the Mexican states of Tabasco, Veracruz, Oaxaca and portions of Guatemala. This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Tropical Storm – force winds are expected to lash portions of the Mexican coast tomorrow night. Because of that, the government of Mexico has issued a Tropical Storm Warning from Campeche westward to Puerto de Veracruz.
The storm is expected to be Tropical Storm Cristobal and in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico by Saturday afternoon. It is not yet known with a high degree of certainty how strong the storm will become or where exactly it’ll go. Because of that, residents of the entire U.S. Gulf coast should prepare for the possibility of the storm’s arriva
With impacts to the United States possible in the coming days, the National Hurricane Center recommends that people develop a written action plan, consider helping neighbors in their planning process, make sure their homes are strengthened prior to being threatened by a tropical system, make sure insurance is in-order, stock up on essential supplies, develop an evacuation plan, and ultimately identify and determine any risks you may face from a storm.
Experts with the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU believe the upcoming hurricane season will be a particularly busy one with increased chances of a landfalling tropical system compared to typical seasons. NOAA also unveiled their seasonal outlook in May, showing an active season with an above normal volume of storms expected in the Atlantic basin. The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from today through November 30, 2020.