MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Tropical Storm Gamma has gained a bit of strength overnight while two other areas of possible development are being monitored.
At 8:00 AM, the center of Tropical Storm Gamma was located near latitude 19.7 North, longitude 87.2 West or very near Cozumel, Mexico. Gamma is moving toward the northwest near 9 mph, and this motion should continue at a slower forward speed today. A turn toward the north is expected on Sunday, followed by a turn to the west or west-southwest Sunday night or Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Gamma should move inland over the eastern Yucatan Peninsula later today, and be near the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph with higher gusts. Some slight additional strengthening is possible before Gamma makes landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula today. After landfall, some weakening is expected. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center.
WATCHING THREE OTHER SYSTEMS
1. A tropical wave is producing widespread cloudiness, showers, and thunderstorms over the eastern and central Caribbean Sea, with locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds affecting portions of the the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and portions of the coasts of Colombia and Venezuela. Environmental conditions are expected to become a little more conducive for development, and a tropical depression could form next week while the system moves westward or west-northwestward at about 15 mph across the central and western Caribbean Sea and then into the southern Gulf of Mexico. The chance of formation over the next 5 days has increased to 50%.
2. A tropical wave located over the central tropical Atlantic is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms. This system is expected to move toward the west-northwest or northwest at 10 to 15 mph, and some development is possible during the next couple of days before it encounters strong upper-level winds. The chance of formation is now 20%.
3. An area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the central Atlantic more than 1000 miles east-southeast of Bermuda is associated with a surface trough of low pressure. Some slow development of this system is possible during the next couple of days before it too encounters strong upper-level winds. The chance of development is low at only 10%.