ORLANDO, Fla. – Tropical Depression Cristobal is creeping along just inland over Mexico’s Gulf coast state of Campeche, threatening to cause flooding the next few days before a predicted turn northward toward the U.S.
The storm will help bring rain to Central Florida, combining with a trough to make for a complex atmosphere in the Orlando area, News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges said.
The system was downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression Thursday morning, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
The storm’s sustained winds weakened to 40 mph after it moved inland Wednesday near the oil town of Ciudad del Carmen. The NHC said the storm was expected to weaken Thursday, but then begin strengthening once it moved back over the Gulf of Mexico on Friday.
Cristobal was forecast to be out in the central Gulf on Saturday and could be nearing the U.S. Gulf Coast by Sunday, the hurricane center said. It added that current conditions “will not be very conducive” for further strengthening as the storm moves away from Mexico.
The Mexican army evacuated 138 people in Campeche after floodwaters threatened homes, and police in Campeche reported water washing across highways.
By late Wednesday, the storm was nearly stationary about 20 miles south of Ciudad del Carmen.
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.
Rain chances will stay high into next week in Central Florida as more moisture builds in from the south.
Expect a 90% coverage of rain on Thursday and on Friday.
“Most of the rain will be light to moderate, but there will be a couple pockets of thunder and lightning,” Bridges said. “The biggest concern will be flooding because of the days of rain.”
Thursday’s high will be 82 degrees, well below the average of 90 for this time of year. The record high on this date is 100, set in 1985.
There’s an 80% coverage of rain on Saturday and a 70% coverage on Sunday.
Orlando has a yearly rain deficit of 5.38 inches.