KEY POINTS

  • Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed in the open Atlantic and is forecast to continue growing as it moves into the Caribbean by the weekend
  • A tropical wave began moving into the Gulf of Mexico, hitting Cuba and southern Florida with heavy storms and strong winds
  • Both fronts are forecast to persist through the weekend at varying strengths

The National Hurricane Center on Wednesday has tracked two storm fronts near the Gulf of Mexico and in the Atlantic, the latter getting upgraded to a tropical storm as it pushes westward into the Caribbean.

Tropical Depression Seven was upgraded to Tropical Storm Gonzalo around 9 a.m. ET. Winds within the storm were averaging between 45 and 50 mph and smaller storms within Gonzalo continuing to intensify. Tracking has it moving northwest towards the Caribbean at around 12 mph and is expected to start hitting the Caribbean by the weekend.

The bigger concern is the potential strength of the storm by the time it reaches the Caribbean.

Wednesday’s forecast Gonzalo strengthening as the week rolls on before it begins to hit land. The National Hurricane Center said if it weakens as it moves into the Caribbean, it would likely breakup by the end of the weekend. However, the center warned island residents to be prepared should it remain strong entering the weekend.

The second tropical wave was entering the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, located between Cuba and southern Florida.

“Gradual development of this system is possible while it moves west-northwestward, and a tropical depression could form during the next few days,” the National Hurricane Center said. “This disturbance is expected to move over the central Gulf today, and reach the northwestern Gulf on Thursday and Friday.”

Louisiana and northern Florida are forecast to be the next areas hit by the end of the week before the wave moves on to the coasts of Alabama and Texas.