Tropical Storm Hanna forecast to strengthen; Gonzalo looms

MIAMI  — Tropical Storm Hanna was expected to strengthen Friday as it moves toward the Texas coastline, threatening to bring heavy rain, rough waters and strong winds, all while another tropical storm continued to approach the Caribbean.

Hanna was located about 285 miles (460 kilometers) east of Corpus Christi, Texas, the National Hurricane Center said in its 7 a.m. CDT advisory. It had maximum sustained winds around 40 mph (65 kph) and was moving west, northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).

Hanna was forecast to make landfall on Saturday. A tropical storm warning was in effect from the mouth of the Rio Grande to San Luis Pass, Texas, and a tropical storm watch was in effect from San Luis Pass to High Island, Texas.

Forecasters increased the expected rainfall totals in its update, stating that Hanna could bring 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain and coastal swells that “are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the advisory stated.

Hanna broke the record as the earliest eighth Atlantic named storm, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. The previous record was Harvey on Aug. 3, 2005, Klotzbach tweeted.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo was also the earliest Atlantic named storm for its place in the alphabet. The previous record was held by Tropical Storm Gert, which formed on July 24, 2005. So far this year, Cristobal, Danielle, Edouard and Fay also set records for being the earliest named Atlantic storm for their alphabetic order.

Gonzalo was moving at 15 mph (24 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center's Friday morning update. It was located about 580 miles (930 kilometers) east of the southern Windward Islands.

The Hurricane Center said that those in the Windward Islands should monitor the storm as it is expected to approach the islands late Friday and Saturday. As some strengthening is forecast, there is still a chance that Gonzalo could become a hurricane, but the storm is expected to weaken as it moves into the Caribbean Sea.

A hurricane watch has been issued for Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm warning is in effect for several places, including St. Lucia, Tobago and Grenada. Forecasters said Gonzalo could bring 2 to 5 inches (5 to 13 centimeters) of rain.