Tropical Storm Gonzalo Expected to Become First Hurricane of 2020

ORLANDO, Fla. (Orlando Sentinel/TNS) -

Tropical Storm Gonzalo is expected to develop into the first hurricane of the 2020 season Thursday morning as it continues its westbound journey.

Gonzalo, moving at 12 mph, is about 970 miles east of the southern Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The NHC issued a Hurricane Watch for Barbados, meaning hurricane conditions are possible for the area over the next 48 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are felt.

While Gonzalo is developing quickly and is expected to gain strength over the next two days, meteorologists aren’t expecting it to remain in the Atlantic for very long as it trudges through areas of dry air and high wind shear on Saturday, said FOX 35 meteorologist Jayme King.

“Global models show this thing actually diminishing to nothing as it gets into the central Caribbean. It’ll be facing increased wind shear and dry air that’s out there right now from Africa. That might be the silver bullet for Gonzalo,” King said.

Gonzalo is expected to drop back to tropical storm strength with winds of 70 miles per hour by Saturday.

King is currently looking at another system behind Gonzalo, which the NHC hasn’t publicly identified. However, models show the system, larger than Gonzalo, taking shape early next week.

Over in the Gulf of Mexico, tropical depression 8 formed just southwest of Florida and continues to move west toward Texas.

TD 8 is moving at 9 mph and was about 425 miles from Port O’Connor, Texas, as of early Thursday. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 30 mph. It is expected to make landfall on the Texas coast Saturday.

A tropical storm watch is in effect from Port Mansfield to High Island, Texas.

If a tropical storm does develop it will be the eighth storm of the year and will be named Hannah.

While the wave won’t directly hit Florida, it will still have an impact on the Sunshine State, bringing showers today through the weekend. There’s a 50% chance of rain and thunderstorms Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

The weekend is expected to be pretty wet in Central Florida when those odds increase to 40% Friday, as well as Saturday. Sunday odds increase back to 50%.