Cristobal should approach the northern Gulf coast within 4 days. The latest predictions from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) suggest it should reach Louisiana Sunday morning by 8 a.m. Houston remains within the cone of uncertainty. The storm has already dumped torrential rains on Mexico and Central America and produced life-threatening flash flooding.
No one is yet predicting the exact point of impact, the intensity at landfall, or the potential rainfall. Note, however, that the storm is significantly bigger than the center. Areas far away from the track may still experience significant impacts.
So far, this storm appears to be Mexico’s and Central America’s version of Harvey in that it has stalled in one location and dropped heavy rainfall for 4-5 days.
Current Location and Conditions
Here’s what’s happening at this hour.
Cristobal dipped inland this morning in the Mexican State of Campeche around around 8 a.m. CDT. Aircraft and surface reports indicate intensity at about 50 kt. (57.5 mph).
Now that the center of circulation has moved inland, a gradual weakening trend should commence. The NHC anticipates Cristobal will weaken to a topical depression by tomorrow evening. However, they also predict the system will re-emerge into the Gulf of Mexico.
Sheer Expected in Northern Gulf
NHC says global models show increased southwesterly shear influencing the cyclone over the northern Gulf of Mexico and this should limit intensification. However, there is significant uncertainty as to how strong a cyclone we will be dealing with near the northern Gulf coast this weekend.
Impacts to Date
Damaging and deadly flooding has occurred in portions of Mexico and Central America. Cristobal is expected to produce additional extreme rainfall amounts through the end of the week. The heaviest additional rainfall is expected over far southern Mexico and portions of the Yucatan Peninsula, while also extending along the Pacific coast from Chiapas to Guatemala and El Salvador. This rainfall could cause widespread life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Up to 35 inches of rain has already fallen in some locations since May 30.
Even though Cristobal has made landfall, tropical storm conditions will continue along and near the coast of Mexico through Thursday, especially over western Campeche, eastern Tabasco, and northern Chiapas states.
Rainfall in Mexico and Central America Through Friday
NHC predicts Cristobal will produce the following rain accumulations through Friday night:
- Mexican states of Campeche, northern Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, and Yucatan…10 to 20 inches, isolated 25 inches.
- Mexican state of southern Chiapas…15 to 20 inches, isolated 25 inches. Mexican states of Veracruz and Oaxaca…5 to 10 inches.
- Southern Guatemala…Additional 15 to 20 inches, isolated storm total amounts of 35 inches dating back to Saturday, May 30th.
- El Salvador…Additional 10 to 15 inches, isolated storm total amounts of 35 inches dating back to Saturday, May 30th.
- Belize and Honduras…3 to 6 inches, isolated 10 inches.
- Rainfall in all of these areas may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Threat to U.S. by Sunday
NHC forecasts Cristobal to re-emerge over the southern Gulf of Mexico Friday or Friday night.
Christobal should then move northward over the central and northern Gulf over the weekend. Risks to the US Gulf coast from Texas to the Florida Panhandle include storm surge, heavy rainfall, and wind impacts beginning this weekend.
While it is too soon to determine the exact location, timing, and magnitude of these impacts, people and businesses in these areas should monitor the progress of Cristobal and ensure they have their hurricane plan in place.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/3/2020 at 11:30 a.m.
1009 days after Hurricane Harvey