Tropical Storm Gonzalo expected to become a hurricane and Tropical Depression Eight develops

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

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.

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

Beatriz is a broadcast media major at Florida International University and is the managing editor for Caplin News. She aspires to become a documentarian.