Tropical Depression 3 moves slowly westward in the Gulf

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season kicks off with third system forming from remnants of Pacific Storm

8am update Tuesday
8am update Tuesday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tropical Depression 3 formed in the Gulf on Monday afternoon and is expected to become Tropical Storm Cristobal later today. Hurricane Hunter aircraft are investigating the system this morning.

June 1st marked the beginning of hurricane season and it’s already been an unusual one, with two storms forming prior to the start of the season. Tropical Storm Arthur formed on May 12 and Bertha formed on May 25. The unusual theme continues, a tropical storm that formed in the Pacific, Amanda, has broken down while crossing Mexico but then reformed as Tropical Depression 3 in the Gulf.

The Pacific name for the storm, Amanda, was not used, and when it develops into a storm, it will be named the next name on the Atlantic list, Cristobal. This is because Amanda weakened below tropical depression status as the system crossed Mexico. Prior to the year 2000, regardless of degradation storm names would change when they crossed from the Atlantic to the Pacific basin and vise versa. In the year 2000, the hurricane committee decided that storms that maintained strength while crossing basins, they would not be renamed, they would keep their original name. Because Amanda broke down and will likely reform, the new system will get a new name, from the Atlantic list.

Tracking the Tropics: Interactive map and more

At 7a.m, the center of Tropical Depression Three was located near latitude 19.6 North, longitude 92.4 West. The depression is moving toward the west near 3 mph. The depression is forecast to move slowly west-southwestward or southward this afternoon and tonight, and meander over the southern Bay of Campeche through late Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of the cyclone is forecast to be near the coast of the southern Bay of Campeche tonight through Thursday. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. Slow strengthening is expected during the next couple of days, and the depression is forecast to become a tropical storm later today. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system later this morning. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1003 mb.

Tropical Depression Three is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches over parts of the Mexican states of Tabasco, Veracruz, and Campeche. The depression is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches over northern Chiapas and other Mexican states, Quintana Roo and Yucatan. Additional rainfall of 10 to 15 inches, with isolated amounts of 25 inches is expected along the Pacific coasts of Chiapas, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Some of these Pacific locations received 20 inches of rain over the weekend, and storm total amounts of 35 inches are possible. Rainfall in all of these areas may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Monday marked the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, which will run until November 30. Long-term averages for the number of named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes are 12, 6, and 3, respectively.

Two tropical storms, Arthur and Bertha, already formed this year in May. The next named storm that develops this season will be Cristobal.

Below is a still shot of the Euro model forecast for next Monday, June 8. While long-range forecasts like this has considerable margins of error, both the GFS and the Euro have consistently show a similar forecast over the last several days. The system will most likely meander around along the coastline of Mexico, before getting pulled northward into the Gulf by the middle of next week.

Late this week, TD3 should be Cristobal and still near Mexico Coastline
Late this week, TD3 should be Cristobal and still near Mexico Coastline

Chief Meteorologist John Gaughan explains:

Long Range Forecasts For 2020 Hurricane Season

Multiple 2020 hurricane season outlooks have been released and they are trending toward an active year. They’re forecasting an above-average -- more than six -- hurricanes this season, which begins June 1.

Some are even calling for an “extremely active” season -- more than nine hurricanes.

There are over a dozen forecasts published. And even though the official forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration won't come until May 21, a strong consensus in the forecasts across the industry indicates the US is in for an active season.

"In general, the consensus between seasonal hurricane forecasts this year is greater than it has been the past few years," says Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University

Typically, these early forecasts vary a little bit more.

This year the average forecast -- for all 13 groups that have submitted to Seasonal Hurricane Predictions -- is eight hurricanes and 17 named storms.

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