Tropical Storm Cristobal has developed as of 12pm Central Time, becoming the earliest named “C” storm on record in the Atlantic Basin, as well as the first storm to form in the Gulf of Mexico this year. The storm currently has winds of 40mph, and a pressure of 1004 millibars. Cristobal was located at 19.3 degrees North, and 92.7 degrees West. It is expected to meander for a few days before eventually turning North and possible striking the US Gulf Coast this weekend. Tropical Storm Warnings are in place across a vast swath of coast in the Bay of Campeche. Heavy rains are continuing to fall of areas of the Yucatan Peninsula due to the very slow movement of Cristobal. Areas of sea could receive up to 50 inches of rain, along with areas over land with potentially three feet of rain. Life-threatening flooding is the main threat from Cristobal at this time, however it is expected to strengthen further. A landfall in Mexico cannot be ruled out in the short term, however very unlikely.
Cristobal will slowly meander throughout the Bay of Campeche for at least the next two or three days before it eventually turns North. Intensities will also increase, with a peak in the next five days at 65mph on approach to the Gulf Coast. There is still a significant range of landfall locations, from Texas to Mississippi, however, the most likely landfall location on the Gulf Coast at this time is Louisiana. This will likely change as it gets closer to the weekend. In the mean time, as stated above, significant and life-threatening rainfall will likely continue to occur in regions of Eastern Coastal Mexico for the next few days. In the mean time, Cristobal will likely do a loop before going further north into the Gulf of Mexico. Here is the latest National Hurricane Center forecast cone: