Tropical Depression 3 forms in the Gulf of Mexico

It will meander for a while over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico caught in the Central American Gyre

Tropical Depression 3 forms in the Gulf of Mexico
Tropical Depression 3 forms over the Bay of Campeche

ORLANDO, Fla. — 5p.m. update

Tropical depression 3 formed over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. It has maximum sustained winds of 30 mph. Its strength will fluctuate this week as it is caught in the Central American Gyre and stay over the Bay of Campeche area for most of this week.

The system could then turn northward and enter the central Gulf of Mexico strengthening further. The next name on the list is Cristobal.

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Earlier version

The first named storm out of the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Amanda, developed near Guatemala on Sunday.

On Monday morning, the disturbance was located over the Yucatan Peninsula. It is slowly moving west-northwest and it could move over the Bay of Campeche Monday evening. Once over the warm waters of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the storm could redevelop into a tropical storm or tropical depression. If the storm redevelops there it would become the Atlantic Basin’s third named storm, Cristobal.

There is a high chance of this system redeveloping by Wednesday.

Although Amanda has dissipated, its remnants continue to bring heavy rains over El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, and southern Mexico. Some parts could see up to 20 inches of rain brought by the storm. Flash floods and mudslides have occurred this past weekend and they are expected to continue for parts of the region, especially across high terrain.


The forecast calls for the system to stay over the Gulf of Mexico in a loop form, during this week. If the system stays over water, it could “unloop” again, finally break free of the Central America Gyre and move northward toward the southern Gulf U.S. states by this weekend or the beginning of next week. We will continue to monitor.

Curious tidbit about this area:

This system is caught in an area determined to be the Central American Gyre (CAG). The CAG is a broad area of cyclonic circulations in the lowest layer of the atmosphere. Occurring near Central America, they are similar to broad monsoonal low-pressure systems in other oceanic basins. The Central American Gyres can form anywhere from Mexico to Central American to the Caribbean.

As the system is caught in this big circulation it continues to spin and whirl, meandering around the same area. Also, because it comes charged with lots of tropical humidity. It produces torrential rains in the areas it travels over.

The Central American Gyre usually forms once or twice per year. Usually, it forms when the Pacific and Atlantic trade winds shift, during June or September/October, which is also when the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) migrates northward.

Interesting Facts about the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season:

  • The Eastern Pacific season starts on May 15, due to warmer waters of this area earlier in the season.
  • The Eastern Pacific season has a different name list than the Atlantic season.
  • There are also Hurricane Season Forecasts made for the Pacific Ocean.
  • Most of the storms remain over water, with a few storms striking Mexico and fewer storms striking Hawaii.
  • The National Hurricane Center in Miami also monitors storms in this region, providing the same products and advisories offered for the Atlantic.
Hurricane Season 2020: Who names tropical systems? When? Why?

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