Tropical Storm Gonzalo has formed in the Atlantic. Gonzalo is a compact storm that has been intensifying at a fairly quick pace.
Gonzalo is small, meaning that it ‘s a bit easier for this storm to strengthen in a favorable environment, which is what it’s in right now.
Gonzalo won’t be in this kind of environment for long though. As it moves west-northwest and approaches the Lesser Antilles, the environment becomes less favorable for development. Drier air associated with the Saharan Air Layer begins to entrain into Gonzalo, and wind shear near and north of the storm increases.
Gonzalo’s smaller size has been an advantage so far in a relatively favorable environment for development, but it should also make Gonzalo less resilient to a less favorable environment. So, what does that mean for Gonzalo in the future? Gonzalo will likely continue to intensify in the short term. I would expect Gonzalo to reach hurricane strength tomorrow or Friday. As we head into Friday and into the weekend, the environment Gonzalo moves through will be much more harsh for the storm, likely leading to some weakening, but there’s high uncertainty in the intensity forecast beyond Friday morning. Tropical models tend to suggest the storm will be more resilient, and continue to intensify in a less favorable environment, likely thanks to above average sea surface temperatures. Global models suggest the smaller storm will weaken significantly, and many global models suggest the storm could completely dissipate by early next week.
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