SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -
Tropical Depression Twenty-Six has formed and has sustained winds of 35 mph and is currently moving west-northwest at 9 mph. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Cayman Islands beginning late Monday, and a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect. The system is forecast to approach the northern Gulf Coast late this week as a hurricane. While there is large uncertainty in the track and intensity forecasts at these time ranges, there is a risk of dangerous storm surge, wind, and rainfall hazards along the coast from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle. This storm is forecast to become Tropical Storm Delta by Monday afternoon. Once it moves into the Gulf of Mexico it will enter favorable conditions for development and is forecast to strengthen into a category 2 hurricane before making landfall along the northern Gulf coast later in the week.
Regardless of the development of Tropical Depression Twenty-Six, it will bring a surge of moisture across the Suncoast by Wednesday.
Tropical Storm Gamma has maximum sustained winds of has stalled north of the Yucatan Peninsula this evening with a frontal boundary blocking the storm from continuing to travel northward. The storm will move southwestward over the next few days into the Bay of Campeche. Gamma is expected to produce heavy rainfall for several days over portions of southeastern Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Central America, and far western Cuba. This rainfall could result in life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides, particularly in the mountainous regions of southeastern Mexico and Central America.
The Fujiwhara effect is rare, and even more rare in the Gulf of Mexico. This is when two nearby cyclonic vortices are spinning in the same direction pass close enough to each other, they begin an intense dance around their common center. If one tropical system is a lot stronger than the other, the smaller one will orbit it and eventually come crashing into its vortex to be absorbed. Two storms closer in strength can gravitate towards each other until they reach a common point and merge, or merely spin each other around for a while before shooting off on their own paths. In rare occasions, the effect is additive when the storms come together, resulting in one larger storm instead of two smaller ones. In our case, Delta looks to absorb Gamma as the much stronger storm as it emerges in the Gulf of Mexico.