Tropical Depressions: Three in the Gulf, One to Watch

The disorganized depression soon to become Tropical Storm Cristobal is highly unpredictable at this point.
The disorganized depression soon to become Tropical Storm Cristobal is highly unpredictable at this point. National Hurricane Center
Impeachment trials, pandemics, intense protests and riots, murder hornets, even a plague of locusts (yes) have turned 2020 into one for the record books — books we will all want to destroy with fire if we make it through the year — and it's only the beginning of June. But, since it is already June 1, that means something else for those of us along American coastlines: hurricane season.

And, boy, has this one ever started out firing on all cylinders. The first day of the season was Monday and we are already working on tropical depression three, which formed in the extreme southern Gulf of Mexico. If it reaches tropical storm strength by June 5 (and that seems a foregone conclusion at this point), Cristobal, as it will be named, will become the earliest forming third storm in Atlantic history.

That plague of locusts isn't looking so bad right about now, huh?

The National Hurricane Center is predicting it will meander around the Bay of Campeche through the end of the week and gradually begin moving northward around the edge of high pressure. Where that high pressure is and how strong it is will ultimately determine the forecast track for whatever storm manages to make it out away from the coast of Mexico.

Between now and Friday, the coastline of Mexico and parts of Belize and Guatemala will be inundated with rainfall as the system drifts about. There are numerous scenarios from interaction with land that could cause the storm to die out leaving its remnants to form further north in the Gulf to a fully-formed storm emerging. Right now, because there isn't really a defined center of circulation, any predictions will be all over the map, literally.

So far, the more reliable computer models have suggested an ultimate landfall anywhere from the southern Texas coastline to central Louisiana. But, that's like saying the plane you took from IAH will land in either Chicago or Miami. It doesn't leave a lot of room for planning.

Because June 1 is the first official day of hurricane season, however, this is a good time to begin your preparations and maybe a storm in the Gulf is the right motivation. Back in 2014, we provided a list of the must-have's for the hurricane season. It still applies. Given the insanity we've witnessed in the last six years, the alcohol part might be more important than the rest.

Still, there isn't reason to panic over this storm. Even if it does reach the coast of Texas, it seems unlikely to be a serious threat like Hurricane Harvey. For one, it will be moving much more quickly and deliberately around high pressure, which we didn't have in 2017, unfortunately. Also, it isn't expected to be terribly well organized by the time it reaches our area.

Never the less, preparation is a good thing. We are assuming you are stocked up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You have plenty of time to deal with the rest.

Now, about those murder hornets...
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke