Tropical Storm Gamma may form from 1 of 2 systems in Caribbean

©Orlando Sentinel

National Hurricane Center/TNS/TNS

ORLANDO, Fla. — Two tropical waves are being monitored in the Caribbean by the National Hurricane Center Thursday afternoon with one of them having increased odds of becoming Tropical Storm Gamma this weekend or next week.

First, a tropical wave, located over the west Caribbean Sea, is producing showers and thunderstorms, according to the NHC’s 2 p.m. EDT update. The wave is moving slowly northwestward into environmentally, friendly conditions for tropical development.

The NHC forecast its odds of developing into a tropical depression within the next two days at 40%, and gave it a 70% chance of doing so in the next five days but only if it remains in Caribbean waters.

“Development will become less likely if the system moves over the Yucatan Peninsula or northern Central America,” said NHC hurricane specialist Robbie Berg. “Regardless of development, this system is expected to produce locally heavy rains, with possible flash flooding, over portions of southeastern Mexico, Central America, and western Cuba during the next several days.”

A second tropical wave was located just east of the Lesser Antilles and is producing large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms.

It’s forecast to move west at 15 to 20 mph into the western Caribbean Sea, where conditions are likely to help it develop. The NHC gave it a 20% chance of developing within the next five days.

If either becomes a tropical storm it will be the 24th storm of the year named Gamma.

The NOAA predicted in its midseason forecast a total of 19 to 25 named storms before the end of hurricane season, Nov. 30.

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©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)