While attention has been focused on Hurricane Dorian as it ravages the Bahamas and menaces the Southeast coast of the U.S., another tropical system may be threatening Mexico this week as hurricane season nears its peak.
The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning that a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico has become a tropical depression, and is forecast to strengthen to a tropical storm by Wednesday.
The system currently has sustained winds of 35 mph and is located about 185 east of La Pesca, Mexico and moving west at 7 mph.
A tropical storm warning has been issued in Mexico from La Pesca to Barra El Mezquital. If the system strengthens into a tropical storm it will have the name “Fernand” and be the sixth named storm of the season.
Satellite photos from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show the area of disturbed weather in the Gulf of Mexico as Dorian spins off Florida.
“Interests elsewhere along the northeastern coast of Mexico and the lower Texas coast should monitor the progress of this system,” the NHC said.
The development of this latest tropical system comes as Hurricane Dorian lurks off Florida, and the entire tropical Atlantic basin has become “quite active” in recent days.
“There are currently 3 disturbances being monitored for potential development, with another tropical wave expected to move off the African coast later this week,” the National Weather Service said on Twitter Monday.
Colorado State University hurricane scientist Phil Klotzbach noted on Twitter the “whopping” four areas of potential development over the Atlantic over the next 5 days.
“The climatological peak of Atlantic hurricane season is around September 10,” Klotzbach said.
On the other side of Mexico, a major hurricane is well off-shore in the Pacific. The NHC said Hurricane Juliette is packing 125 mph winds as it moves northwest at 8mph about 455 southwest off the southern tip of Baja California. Hurricane Juliette, while well off the coast, is expected to send elevated surf with strong rip currents to San Diego County in California on Wednesday and Thursday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
A satellite photo from NOAA shows the scale of tropical activity in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at the moment.
In the Gulf of Mexico, officials warn that tropical storm conditions will affect the northeast coast of Mexico during the day on Wednesday.
“Squalls with gusts to tropical-storm-force are likely north of the warning area along portions of the northeastern coast of Mexico and the lower Texas coast,” the NHC said.
The system is also expected to bring 6 to 12 inches of rain across northeast Mexico, and two to four inches of rain for south Texas and the lower Texas coast.
NOAA forecasters have called for 10-17 named storms in the Atlantic, of which five to nine could strengthen into hurricanes. Of those storms, there will be two to four major hurricanes, which are classified as Category 3, 4, and 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.
The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, and this year includes the names: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.
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