Tropical Storm Cristobal Summary:
- Tropical Storm Cristobal has formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico
- Cristobal to make landfall in or near Louisiana by Sunday, with specific impacts unknown at the moment
- The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to by a very active one
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Tropical Storm Cristobal could impact the U.S. as early as this weekend. The storm made landfall on the coast of Mexico Wednesday morning and is expected to then track toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, bringing tropical moisture with it.
The center of Cristobal arrived onshore west of Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, on early Wednesday morning, with winds around 60 mph.
10a: Cristobal has drifted inland. Its interaction with Mexico and movement back over water will greatly influence what - if any - potential for tropical storm conditions we will have early next week.— NWS Houston (@NWSHouston) June 3, 2020
For now, the key remains to stay aware of the latest forecast info! pic.twitter.com/yuRperU3yI
In the next few days, the storm is expected to intensify, as it will charge up the southern Gulf and then track north late week. In the early part of the weekend, Cristobal will be near the northern U.S. Gulf Coast. Later on Sunday, the storm could make landfall around the upper Texas coast to the Alabama Gulf Coast.
"The likely U.S. landfall for Cristobal is now within the 5-day forecast, slated for Sunday in Louisiana based on the latest forecasts. Specific impacts will be discussed closer to the weekend, but flooding rainfall would seem to be a minimum. There is upside potential toward a hurricane based on environmental conditions, but there are also limiting factors that should prevent a damaging major hurricane.
"Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are only marginally supportive of hurricane intensity in the landfalling area around Louisiana, which is the number one factor in how strong a hurricane can get. Furthermore, as Cristobal approaches the U.S. shoreline, increasingly dry air will wrap into the circulation of the storm which will have a weakening effect," Reuters commodity desk said.
Several spaghetti models show Cristobal could be headed to an area in the Gulf of Mexico with dozens of offshore drilling rigs.
"As oil and gas companies began shutting offshore production before the first tropical storm of the season in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, experts said restarting wells and refineries will take longer and prove more costly this year because of COVID-19. Well shut-ins typically last a few days or weeks at most, but oil companies have adopted stringent virus precautions for refinery and offshore staff, including frequent health checks, travel restrictions, onsite protective gear, and longer work stints with pre-departure quarantines," Reuters commodity desk said.
This is the third tropical storm of the year, first of the season, and the 2020 hurricane season is likely to be a busy one.