Second tropical storm in Atlantic: Neither to threaten United States

gonzaloBy Alex Sosnowski, Expert Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather reports days after Fay put an end to the quiet stretch in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed Sunday afternoon just east of the Leeward Islands.

Heavy rain and locally damaging winds will blast the northern Leeward Islands Monday as Gonzalo tracks over them before moving toward Puerto Rico Monday night.

“Torrential rain will lash the northern Lesser Antilles Monday,” said AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Andy Mussoline.

Gonzalo will bring many dangers with it as it tracks westward. “Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides will threaten the region,” said Mussoline.

Gonzalo will likely reach the Virgin Islands Monday night before passing Puerto Rico just to the northeast by early Tuesday morning.

Warm water and low wind shear will allow the system to strengthen over the next few days and Gonzalo very well could be a Category 1 hurricane when it nears Puerto Rico.

“As a precaution, residents and travelers should prepare for prolonged power outages and cutoff of basic services,” added Mussoline.

A cold front will steer Gonzalo on a more northerly path by midweek. Folks in the Bahamas should be on alert once again as the northerly turn will take Gonzalo toward them late this week or weekend, perhaps as a hurricane.

Torrential rain and damaging winds recently battered Bermuda as then Tropical Storm Fay passed nearby late Saturday night and Sunday morning. A peak wind gust to 82 mph was measured.

During October, on average, areas most likely for tropical development in the Atlantic Basin tend to shift closer to the nearshore waters of North and Central America.

The Atlantic is behind the curve for the average number of named tropical systems. After about a three week lull, Fay and Gonzalo recently brought the number of named storms to seven. On average, there are nine named systems over the Atlantic by the middle of October.

With 18 named systems this season, the eastern Pacific is running ahead of the average. By the middle of October, the average number of named systems is 15.