Update (July 23)(5:15ET)): The National Hurricane Center (NHC) tweeted early Thursday morning that Tropical Storm Gonzalo is expected to "strengthen again" and "become a hurricane later today."
NHC said Barbados had issued a hurricane watch. Gonzalo could strike the tiny island on Saturday.
"Busy in the Tropics," tweeted meteorologist Brian Shields, who posted a weather map showing not just Gonzalo is barreling towards the Caribbean but Tropical Depression 8 is approaching Texas.
Here's a more detailed map of Tropical Depression 8's potential path towards Texas this weekend.
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Update (8:55ET): Tropical Depression Seven has formed into Tropical Storm Gonzalo on Wednesday morning. The system is expected to move toward the Caribbean by the end of the week.
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Tropical Depression Seven is traversing the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and the Lesser Antilles and has a 90% chance it could strengthen into Tropical Storm Gonzalo in the next 48 hours, according to Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.
National #Hurricane Center now gives 90% chance of named storm formation in the central tropical Atlantic in next 48 hours. If it gets named, it will be Gonzalo. Current record for earliest 7th named storm formation in the Atlantic is Gert on July 24, 2005. pic.twitter.com/iW7MDvqm0R— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) July 21, 2020
Klotzbach tweeted, "Tropical Depression 7 has formed in the central tropical Atlantic and is forecast to become a named storm" on Wednesday.
Tropical Depression 7 has formed in the central tropical Atlantic and is forecast to become a named storm in next 12 hours. If it gets named, it would be Gonzalo. Current record for earliest 7th named storm formation in the Atlantic is Gert on July 24, 2005. #hurricane pic.twitter.com/xN8goMkpaX— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) July 21, 2020
He said the sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic correlate with "active Atlantic hurricane seasons."
The current sea surface temperature anomaly pattern over the North Atlantic looks very much like the July sea surface temperature pattern that has historically correlated with active Atlantic #hurricane seasons. pic.twitter.com/puZi7EC5di— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) July 21, 2020
The system is the first tropical cyclone of this season to form between the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. The Weather Channel said there are conflicting models, one where the system can weaken and another where it can "intensify quickly."
Dry air is currently to the west and north of the system, which is one factor that can weaken and disrupt tropical cyclones.
While shearing winds are currently not near this system, it may encounter increased wind shear as it nears the Windward Islands this weekend.
These factors would argue for a weakening of the system by the time it nears the Windward Islands Saturday.
Small systems like this can intensify quickly in the right conditions, but they can also succumb to unfavorable conditions more quickly than a larger storm. In other words, they can strengthen and weaken much more and at a faster rate than expected.
So, the range of outcomes for the intensity forecast is large, anywhere from this storm remaining weak or dissipating east of the Windward Islands, to a possible strong tropical storm or hurricane.
Fortunately, the track forecast is a bit more straightforward. We expect a general west-northwest track into the Windward Islands by Saturday.
Interests in the Lesser Antilles, including areas as far south as Trinidad and Tobago, even the northern coast of Venezuela, should monitor the progress of this system closely. - The Weather Channel
The Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to fly into the storm on Wednesday morning. As the system moves west-northwest into the Gulf of Mexico, it will certainly be one to follow as it could be the next name on the 2020 hurricane list as Gonzalo.