MIAMI, Fl. – It’s been quiet the last 10 days or so in the tropics, but it appears the Atlantic basin is starting to heat back up as Tropical Depression 7 strengthened to Tropical Storm Gonzalo Wednesday morning. As of 11 a.m., the storm has sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, a central pressure of 1000 millibars and is moving west at 14 miles per hour.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Gonzalo to become a hurricane by Thursday morning as it treks westward through warm, tropical waters. It could weaken to a tropical storm this weekend as it enters the Caribbean.
Gonzalo is the earliest 7th named storm in the Atlantic basin, beating out Gert, which formed July 24, 2005.
There’s one other area of interest in the tropics, this one currently in the Gulf of Mexico. Folks in Texas and Louisiana will be watching this one over the next few days. It has a 50% chance of tropical development.
If that system can strengthen to tropical storm status, it would get the name “Hanna.” We are already a third of the way through the names on the 2020 list and the season is less than two months old!