HOUSTON — Tropical Depression 25 has strengthened into Tropical Storm Gamma in the northwest Caribbean Sea Friday evening.
As of 4 p.m. Saturday, the storm is about 65 miles northwest of Tulum, Mexico with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. It is moving northwest at 8 mph.
Gamma is moving northern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula and will enter the southern Gulf of Mexico by early Tuesday morning of next week.
What happens after that is still unknown, but there is some good news for Texas and the U.S. as Meteorologist Chita Craft says another frontal boundary will push south, helping to keep Gamma away from the U.S. mainland.
Interactive tropical tracker:
Either way we will want to watch it closely through the weekend as the spaghetti models are not yet all in agreement about its path in the Gulf. Some have it going to the west once in the Gulf, but earlier forecasts had it going east toward Florida.
Saturday afternoon update from the National Hurricane Center:
At 4 p.m. CDT (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Gamma was located near latitude 20.7 North, longitude 87.7 West. Gamma is moving toward the northwest near 8 mph (13 km/h), and a turn toward the north-northwest with decreasing forward speed is expected tonight and Sunday, followed by a turn to the west or west-southwest Sunday night or Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Gamma will continue to move over the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula through tonight, move into the southern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, and pass near or north of the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula Sunday night and Monday. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional weakening is forecast tonight and Sunday, followed by some re-intensification by Monday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km)from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 985 mb (29.09 inches).
RAINFALL: Gamma is expected to produce rainfall of 4 to 8 inches across portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and far western Cuba, with maximum rainfall amounts as high as 10 to 15 inches possible across northeastern Quintana Roo and northern Yucatan. This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash floods. A separate area of significant rain is possible in the Mexican states of Campeche, Tabasco, northern Chiapas, and southeast Veracruz, with rainfall of 6 to 8 inches and isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. This rainfall may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. The storm will also result in an area of heavy rains to the south that will affect the Gulf of Fonseca region between eastern El Salvador, southern Honduras, and northwest Nicaragua with accumulation of 4 to 6 inches and isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches. Rainfall of 1 to 3 inches with maximum amounts of 5 inches is expected over the Cayman Islands.
WIND: Tropical storm conditions should continue within the Tropical Storm Warning area on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula for the next several hours, and these conditions should spread across the remainder of the warning area through Sunday. Tropical Storm conditions are possible within the Tropical Storm Watch area on Monday.
Disturbance in central Caribbean Sea
Shower and thunderstorm activity has become more consolidated since yesterday near a tropical wave located over the central Caribbean Sea.
Environmental conditions are expected to become more conducive for development, and a tropical depression could form next week while the system moves westward or west-northwestward at about 15 mph across the central and western Caribbean Sea and then into the southern Gulf of Mexico.
Locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds will be possible across portions of Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands during the next few days, and interests on those islands should monitor the progress of this disturbance.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...30 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...medium...60 percent.
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