Tropical Storm Gonzalo looks set to become the season’s first hurricane today, one day after it formed in the mid-Atlantic region on Wednesday.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) Gonzalo had become stronger and was moving west at 12 miles per hour toward the Southern Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of around 60 miles per hour as of 11pm.
The storm’s five-day path has Gonzalo moving slightly northwest.
As of 5am this morning it was still unclear whether or not Florida will be impacted. But by Wednesday night, the Government of Barbados issued a hurricane watch for the island.
The NHC says Gonzalo was expected to become a hurricane by 8am today.
Forecasters think Gonzalo’s strength will be short-lived as it passes through “an environment not conducive to its growth” according to one meterologist.
Gonzalo is expected to drop back to tropical storm strength with winds of 70 miles per hour by Saturday.
The NHC said the storm, which is packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, was located 1,935 miles, east of the southern Windward Islands with a forward movement of 14 mph at noon yesterday.
“A general westward motion at a faster forward speed is expected during the next few days. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Gonzalo is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday,” the NHC said.
“Gonzalo is a small tropical cyclone, as tropical storm force winds extend outward only up to 25 miles from the centre.”
The NHC said while there was no coastal watches or warnings in effect, interests in the Windward Islands — Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines — should monitor the progress of the system.
Meanwhile, a tropical depression is forming just south west of Florida in the central Gulf of Mexico and moving west toward Texas.
A tropical storm watch was issued for the Texas coast spanning from port Mansfield to High Island Wednesday night. Tropical storms could form in the watch area over the next two days, the NHC said.
If it does become Hannah, it will be the eighth named storm of the season.