We COULD possibly see two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in recorded history.
The historically active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season continues to ramp up, with the National Hurricane Center identifying two tropical depressions, both of which could strengthen as they head toward the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. coastline.
Residents from Texas to Florida need to prepare for the TWO tropical systems that could impact the area in the coming days.
Tropical Storm Laura
The first system to watch is Tropical Storm Laura, which is about 200 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical storm watches are in effect for the northern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Cabron to the border with Haiti, as well as the northern coast of Haiti from Le Mole-St. Nicholas to the border with the Dominican Republic.
Watches are also in place for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, the NHC said.
Tropical Depression Fourteen (TD-14)
The second system, Tropical Depression Fourteen (TD-14), is about 150 miles east of Isla Roatan, Honduras.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Punta Herrero to Cancun, Mexico. A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Bay Islands of Honduras. A tropical storm watch is in effect for North and west of Cancun to Dzilam, Mexico, according the NHC.
“Regardless of development, this disturbance will likely produce heavy rains across a large portion of Central America and southeastern Mexico late this week and this weekend,” the NHC said.
TD-14 is expected to become better organized Friday, meaning an upgrade to Tropical Storm Marco is likely to occur in the next 24 hours.
2 hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico
Both systems are headed to the Gulf of Mexico.
“The longer-term forecast for [Tropical Storm Laura] looks to be complicated by the presence of another tropical system [TD 14] in the Gulf of Mexico next week,” said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. “Another tropical system spinning in the Gulf will make the forecast track less certain, as tropical storms and hurricanes in close range of each other can alter the winds in the atmosphere and influence each others’ tracks.“
So have we ever had two tropical storm strength systems simultaneously in the Gulf of Mexico before?
Only two other times in recorded history has the Gulf of Mexico hosted two tropical cyclones at the same time, September 1933 and June 1959. “On June 18, 1959, we had an unnamed tropical storm (e.g., added after the season) and Beulah,” Klotzbach said.
Right now both storms are forecast to intensify to Category 1 hurricane strength as they move through the Gulf of Mexico.
“We have never had two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico simultaneously,” Klotzbach points out.
In terms of named storms, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has gotten off to the fastest start in history, according to record-keeping dating back to 1851
Forecasters are predicting much stronger storms over the remainder of the season, with several storms reaching Category 3 or higher, a potentially devastating strength if they make landfall with that intensity.