Tropical Systems Forming at Record Pace; All Eyes Now on the Cape Verdes

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is showing big signs of life, after a quiet start to the week. The first tropical storm originating from the Cape Verde Islands off of Africa formed earlier today – Tropical Storm Gonzalo is small and compact, but steadily strengthening towards hurricane status in the next 24-48 hours east of the Lesser Antilles.

Spaghetti plots for Tropical Storm Gonzalo show a potential track through the Caribbean next week, and potentially a threat to the Gulf next weekend.

The future track and intensity of Gonzalo are both uncertain as conditions favor strengthening up until the Windward Islands, then stronger wind shear could considerably weaken the storm over the Caribbean. There’s a lot of warm water over the northwestern Caribbean and southern Gulf, so a resurgence is certainly possible several days down the road. It doesn’t look like Gonzalo will be a threat to the Carolinas.

Canadian model showing 3 potential systems early this weekend. Gonzalo in the middle, future Hanna approaching Texas, and a third potential system coming off of Africa.

Another system developing over the central and eastern Gulf has a good chance at becoming our next tropical storm (Hanna) by Friday as it nears the Texas coast. A lot of rain will track into central Texas by the weekend. With not a lot of time to develop, it’s unlikely this system would become a hurricane.

Another large wave coming off of Africa in the next day could develop down the road, and European model tracks last night showed a long track storm, likely a hurricane, could form at some point next week between the Caribbean and the central Atlantic. It’s a long way’s off, but a record ninth named storm (Isaias) looks possible, and that will be something to watch in the Carolinas for potential impact in early August. Don’t cancel any plans yet, but be mindful of what looks to be a burst of storms including major hurricanes which will catch our eye. Below is the Canadian for late next week for reference (forecast subject to change).

Canadian long range model shows Gonzalo approaching South Texas and another storm (Isaias) approaching the Southeastern Bahamas

And finally, the first hurricane of the East Pacific season, Douglas, looks to continue to intensify and could be a major hurricane in 1-2 days. Models are in strong agreement that Hawaii will be threatened later this weekend as Douglas weakens slowly over cooler water. Still, it’s possible that Texas, Hawaii, and Barbados all have a landfalling storm Friday night into the weekend – a sure sign of things to come!

NHC forecast for Hurricane Douglas shows likely impacts to Hawaii this weekend.
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Author: Joshua Nagelberg

Josh is a meteorologist based in Raleigh with over 15 years experience, including over 5 years as a consulting event meteorologist, specializing in golf, athletics, and recreation. He is married with a daughter and pet lovebirds and a turtle. He also co-owns other online retail businesses and is a business mentor and coach. He is a Penn State grad from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Josh is answering his calling to help others succeed in life and make conscious decisions when it comes to weather.