ORLANDO, Fla. – Tropical Storm Cristobal will move into the middle of the Gulf of Mexico in the coming days, but it’s not projected to have a direct impact on Florida.
Cristobal, with sustained winds of 40 mph, is on a projected path toward Louisiana, where it could make landfall late Sunday as a tropical storm.
Forecasters expect Cristobal to meander along Mexico’s Gulf coast, causing severe flooding. The Hurricane Center said it made landfall Wednesday morning near Atasta, just west of the major oil production town of Ciudad del Carmen.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was in Campeche’s capital Wednesday as part of his weeklong tour promoting a train project. He was about 145 miles from where the storm made landfall.
Cristobal formed Tuesday from the remnants of the Pacific Tropical Storm Amanda that had caused deadly flooding and landslides in Central America. At least 22 deaths in El Salvador and Guatemala were blamed on the storm.
Cristobal was the earliest third named storm of an Atlantic hurricane season on record; in 2016, Tropical Storm Colin formed in the Gulf on June 5.
Police in Campeche state, where Ciudad del Carmen is located, said they have already closed several highways because of flooding. Forecasts call for 10 to 20 inches of rain along Mexico’s Gulf coast and more in isolated areas.
On Tuesday night, the Mexican army said it had helped evacuate 138 people in Calakmul, Campeche, as floodwaters rose.
On Wednesday morning, the storm was 15 miles west of Ciudad del Carmen and moving south-southeast at 3 mph. Mexico had a tropical storm warning in effect from Campeche to Coatzacoalcos.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center expected the storm to weaken slightly as it crossed eastern Mexico Thursday and become a tropical depression Thursday evening. Then it would reenter the Gulf of Mexico and begin heading north.
Cristobal will bring overrunning cloud cover to the Orlando area and strong rip currents off Florida’s east coast in the coming days.
Increased rain chances in Central Florida, however, will come from the south and east
“Expect high rain chances for the next several days, which could lead to flooding,” Bridges said. “There’s no big risk of severe storms as the cloud cover will inhibit the severe potential.”
There’s a 60% coverage of rain Wednesday in Orlando , with a high near 86 degrees. The average high on this date is 90. The record high is 100, set in 1927.
Rain chances jump to 90% on Thursday and Friday.