Tropical Storm Cristobal Has Formed

Observations from an Air Force Reserve Unit Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Tropical Depression Three has strengthened into Tropical Storm Cristobal. The maximum winds are estimated to be 40 MPH (65 KM/H) with higher gusts.

At 12:15 PM AST, the center of Tropical Storm Cristobal is located at 19.3N, 92.7W, approximately 245 KM west-southwest of Campeche, Mexico. Cristobal is moving southwest at 6 KM/H with a central pressure of 1004 millibars.

This is the third named storm for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which officially began yesterday, June 1st. Cristobal’s formation is also the third earliest formation of a named tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin since records began.

The next update will be posted by the National Hurricane Center at 2:00 PM AST.



The 11:00 AM AST Advisory

At 11:00 AM AST, the center of Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) was located near latitude 19.5 North, longitude 92.6 West.

The depression is moving toward the west near 3 MPH (6 KM/H). The depression is forecast to move slowly 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 (55 KM/H) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is likely to become a tropical storm today.

The minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane is 1005 millibars.

Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) Forecast Cone as of 11:00 AM AST Tuesday 2nd June 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center
Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) Forecast Cone as of 11:00 AM AST Tuesday 2nd June 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center

Watches & Warnings

Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) Watches and Warnings as of 11:00 AM AST Tuesday 2nd June 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center
Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) Watches and Warnings as of 11:00 AM AST Tuesday 2nd June 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Campeche to Puerto de Veracruz

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next within 24 to 36 hours.

Hazards Affecting Land

Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) Key Messages as of 11:00 AM AST Tuesday 2nd June 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center
Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) Key Messages as of 11:00 AM AST Tuesday 2nd June 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area tonight.

Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) Key Messages as of 11:00 AM AST Tuesday 2nd June 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center
Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) Key Messages as of 11:00 AM AST Tuesday 2nd June 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center

RAINFALL: Tropical Depression Three is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches (250 – 500 mm) with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches (625 mm) 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 (250 – 375 mm) over northern Chiapas and other Mexican states, Quintana Roo and Yucatan. Additional rainfall of 10 to 15 inches, with isolated amounts of 25 inches (625 mm) is expected along the Pacific coasts of Chiapas, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Some of these Pacific locations received 20 inches (500 mm) of rain over the weekend, and storm total amounts of 35 inches (875 mm) are possible. Rainfall in all of these areas may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

This system is of no threat to the Windward Islands, including Trinidad and Tobago.

Tropical Depression Three Forecast Discussion

Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) moving across the Bay of Campeche. Image: Weathernerds.org
Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Cristobal) moving across the Bay of Campeche. Image: Weathernerds.org

An Air Force Reserve Unit Hurricane Hunter aircraft is currently investigating the depression and has found that the system is very close to tropical storm strength. Based on flight-level and SFMR-observed surface winds from the plane, the intensity is held at 30 kt for now. Since the cyclone is over very warm waters with fairly low vertical shear, intensification to a tropical storm should occur today. The official intensity forecast is close to the model consensus. The intensity forecast later in the period is dependent on how much shear the system will encounter over the northern Gulf of Mexico and this is somewhat uncertain. For now, the intensity forecast will remain conservative.

The initial motion estimate is slowly westward, or 270/3 kt. The cyclone is expected to remain in weak steering currents over the Bay of Campeche for the next couple of days, with the system moving slowly within a broader gyre over eastern Mexico. Global models show the cyclone being trapped between two mid-level anticyclones until later in the week, when some increase in southerly flow should begin to carry the system toward the northern Gulf of Mexico coastline. The official track forecast closely follows the dynamical model consensus.

At this time, both the track and intensity forecasts are of low confidence. However, for the next couple of days, the main threat from this slow-moving cyclone is from widespread heavy rains over portions of southern Mexico and Central America.

Forecast Discussion by Forecaster Pasch from the NHC.

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