Tropical Storm Gonzalo weakened on Thursday, July 23, but could still rebound into the first hurricane of the Atlantic storm season, according to the National Hurricane Center.
But then it might be time to say goodbye to Gonzalo.
The hurricane center believes that as Gonzalo emerges from the North Atlantic it could briefly strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday as it passes by the Venezuelan coast.
Then it could weaken back down to tropical storm status as it moves through the Caribbean Sea this weekend. The storm poses no threat to Florida as of Thursday.
Gonzalo was 775 miles east of the Windward Islands as of 8 p.m. Thursday, continuing its northwest path toward the Windward Islands with maximum sustained wind speeds of 60 mph.
The storm had reached sustained winds of up to 65 mph on Wednesday, the same day it became a tropical storm.
The center’s 8 p.m. Thursday storm advisory said: “Some strengthening is forecast during the next day or two, and there is still a chance that Gonzalo could become a hurricane. Weakening is expected after Gonzalo moves into the Caribbean Sea.”
The hurricane center issued a hurricane watch for Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That means hurricane conditions are possible for the tiny islands in the next 48 hours.
Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico, another tropical system continued moving west, away from Florida and toward the Texas coast.
“We’re getting to the time of year where the tropics are getting more active,” said Spectrum Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik.
When Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed Wednesday it became the earliest seventh named storm in recorded history in the Atlantic. The system in the Gulf of Mexico is expected Friday to become the eighth.
If it forms, it would become Tropical Storm Hanna.
“It’s not a well defined system but it’s bringing up all types of moisture,” said Kacmarik. She also believes that the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico will help propel the system to tropical storm strength.
Kacmarik predicts the storm will make landfall in Texas this weekend as Tropical Storm Hanna.
While the storm is moving away from Florida, rain will still be in store for Tampa Bay this weekend. Kacmarik said that there will be a 50 percent rain chance on Friday and Saturday, and a 60 percent chance on Sunday. Highs will be in the low 90′s.
“There will be a little less moisture for us and about half and half whether we get rain,” Kacmarik said.
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