Depression Forms in the Gulf; Gonzalo Strengthens
Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for the Texas Gulf coast ahead of the likely arrival and strengthening of the season's eighth tropical depression.
As of 11 am Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said Tropical Depression Eight was located 380 miles east-southeast of Port O'Conner Texas and had top sustained winds of 35 mph. It is moving toward the west-northwest at around 9 mph and is likely to become Tropical Storm Hanna on Friday. Tropical storm conditions are possible this weekend along the Texas Gulf coast, where Tropical Storm Watches are in effect from Port Mansfield to High Island. However, heavy rainfall may be the larger concern.
Forecasters said 3 to 5 inches of rain, with amounts up to 8 inches, are expected from the Louisiana and Texas Gulf coasts into South Texas this weekend and early next week. These rains are likely to cause areas of flash flooding.
Farther east, Tropical Storm Gonzalo strengthened early Thursday morning, some 970 miles east of the Windward Islands. As of 11 am, top sustained winds increased to 65 mph and the National Hurricane Center forecasts Gonzalo to reach hurricane intensity later Thursday. Hurricane Watches are posted for Barbados in anticipation of its possible arrival this weekend.
Computer models disagree on the future intensity of Gonzalo. The U.S. models forecast Gonzalo to remain strong and move in the general direction of Hispaniola next week, while the Canadian and typically high-performing European global models both show Gonzalo weakening rapidly as it enters the Caribbean. In either case, squally conditions are likely to move over portions of the Lesser Antilles over the weekend. No effects are forecast over the next week along the mainland U.S. coastline from Tropical Storm Gonzalo.
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