TAMPA, Fla. — Tropical Disturbance Seven strengthened into Tropical Storm Gonzalo Wednesday morning, and expect it to become stronger in the coming days.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) gave the disturbance just a 20-percent chance of further development Monday. However, the storm quickly developed over the last 48 hours into a tropical storm.
The NHC expects this system to gain strength over the next 24 hours and become the season’s first hurricane by Friday. In anticipation of this, the government of Barbados issued a hurricane watch for the island.
People in the Southern Windward Islands also need to monitor how the storm develops as Gonzalo is expected to begin affecting portions of the area on Saturday.
What happens after that is uncertain. The GFS model weakens this storm significantly in the Caribbean, while the Euro model continues its strengthening.
This is the earliest “G” named storm in Atlantic hurricane season history. The previous record was Tropical Storm Gert, which developed on July 24, 2005. Hurricane season starts heating up for us in August, peaking in September.
Also remember, more than 90-percent of all major hurricane activity, Category 3-5, has historically occurred from August through October.
This is the latest "cone of uncertainty," which shows an area where the center of the system could go, when and how strong it might be at the given time.
Each line represents a computer model's best "guess" of where the center of the system will go. Together, they look like "spaghetti." Remember, impacts from a tropical system can and do occur miles away from the center.