KEY POINTS

  • Two fronts in the Caribbean were upgraded to tropical storms after forming over the weekend
  • Tropical Storm Delta is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane as it moves toward the U.S. Gulf Coast
  • Tropical Storm Gamma is expected to hover over southeastern Mexico

The National Hurricane Center was tracking two tropical storms Monday pushing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean. At least one is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as the week goes on and make landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Tropical Storm Delta is the more pressing of the two storms due to its projected path. It was upgraded to a tropical storm around 9 a.m. Monday, after forming over the weekend off the southern coast of Jamaica. It is forecast to beginning pushing northwest, hitting Jamaica and western Cuba on its way into the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Dangerous storm surge and hurricane conditions are possible in portions of western Cuba and the Isle of Youth by Tuesday afternoon, and a hurricane watch is in effect,” the NHC said.

“Heavy rainfall will affect portions of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and western Cuba during the next few days. This rainfall could lead to significant flash flooding and mudslides.”

The biggest concern with the front is its size and strength by the time it reaches the Gulf Coast. Monday’s forecasts have Delta strengthening to a hurricane by Wednesday and continue growing as it moves toward the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. It’s expected to make landfall by Thursday, but begin to immediately weaken and begin breaking up by Friday.

“While there is large uncertainty in the track and intensity forecasts at these time ranges, there is a risk of dangerous storm surge, wind, and rainfall hazards along the coast from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle,” the NHC said. “Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of the system and check for updates to the forecast during the week.”

The second front the NHC was tracking is Tropical Storm Gamma off the southern coast of Mexico. It’s forecasted to impact southeastern Mexico for most of Monday, but is not expected to move north toward the U.S.

“Gamma is expected to produce heavy rainfall through midweek over portions of southeast Mexico, including the Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche, and Tabasco,” the NHC said. “This rainfall could result in significant flash flooding.”

“Even though Gamma is just offshore, tropical storm conditions are likely along portions of the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula later today.”

A satellite image from September 2019 of Tropical Storm Dorian. US forecasters predict an 'above normal' 2020 Atlantic hurricane season A satellite image from September 2019 of Tropical Storm Dorian. US forecasters predict an 'above normal' 2020 Atlantic hurricane season Photo: NOAA/RAMMB / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS