A tropical depression over the Atlantic has developed into Tropical Storm Gonzalo and is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The storm’s trajectory appears to be taking it over the southern Windward Islands, and a hurricane watch has been issued for Barbados, St. Vincent and The Grenadines. The storm’s current path does not bring it to Florida, and FOX 35 Orlando reports that chances of rain are actually predicted to decrease over the weekend throughout the state. However, Texas is under a tropical storm watch for Tropical Depression Eight.
Here are the 11 am AST, Wednesday, July 22 Key Messages for Tropical Storm #Gonzalo. Interests in the southern Windward Islands should monitor the progress of #Gonzalo https://t.co/pLUNBzuC1h pic.twitter.com/2K86XexOcJ
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) July 22, 2020
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted an above-average hurricane season earlier this year, forecasting between six and 10 hurricanes, including three to six possibly major hurricanes.
Many worry about the heightened dangers of a hurricane during the pandemic. If people are forced to evacuate, there is concern that the spread of COVID-19 could be worsened by the difficulties of socially distancing within a shelter. The CDC has issued a guide for how to prepare for this potential problem and the Miami-Dade County website urges taking preventative measures against the spread of the virus in the case of an evacuation.
University of Colorado research scientist Philip Klotzbach told CNN that the Atlantic seems to be “extremely conducive for an active season,” and noted on his twitter that Gonzalo has broken the record for being the earliest seventh named storm during hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Tropical Depression 7 has formed in the central tropical Atlantic and is forecast to become a named storm in next 12 hours. If it gets named, it would be Gonzalo. Current record for earliest 7th named storm formation in the Atlantic is Gert on July 24, 2005. #hurricane pic.twitter.com/xN8goMkpaX
— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) July 21, 2020
NASA Earth Observatory reports that 2020 has seen “abnormally warm” sea surface temperatures, which generates storms when the water evaporates and “provides moisture and energy for the lower atmospheres.”
Although Florida is currently in the clear, it is always recommended to continue listening for news about the storms due to their unpredictable nature. The NHC is providing advisories on Tropical Storm Gonzalo’s developments on its twitter.