Eyes on the tropics: Tropical depression 26 into hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico

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The depression is one of several systems we’re watching.

HOUSTON — There’s a reason hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

After back-to-back tropical weather for the Houston area, followed by a few weeks of relative calmness in the Atlantic, the tropics have once again come alive. And there’s one system out there that our meteorologists are keeping a close eye on. On Sunday, Tropical Depression 26 formed and it’s expected to strengthen into a tropical storm and then a hurricane before making landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast..

The National Hurricane Center  is also watching Tropical Storm Gamma. Gamma is expected to meander in the Gulf of Mexico before moving north. We’re not overly concerned about this storm right now.

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Tropical Depression 26

Invest 92L developed into potential Tropical Cyclone 26 in the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. Sunday update and a few hours later developed into Tropical Depression 26. The system is expected to reach the Gulf Coast as a strong hurricane later this week.

When it becomes the next tropical storm it will be assigned the name ‘Delta,’ the next name on the Greek alphabet.

READ: National Hurricane Center turns to Greek alphabet for storm names

The current forecast from the NHC takes future ‘Delta’ through the central gulf where it is expected to become a fairly strong hurricane. Current projections show it making a landfall in southeast Louisiana as a category two hurricane with winds of around 100 mph.

It’s important to know that the error in the forecast five days out is pretty significant in terms of track and strength. This is one we’ll need to watch.

KHOU 11 Meteorologist Blake Mathews said it would be extremely unusual for a tropical storm or hurricane to hit the upper-Texas coast so late in the season. However, if we learned anything in 2020, something that is rare doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

The storm is expected to create tropical storm conditions in the Cayman Islands on Monday before heading toward western Cuba on Tuesday.

The last time a hurricane hit the upper-Texas coast this late was Hurricane Jerry on October 15, 1989. 

While most of the computer models take this well east of Houston, we’ll need to monitor the system for any deviations west in its eventual track.

Tropical Storm Gamma

Tropical Storm Gamma formed Saturday and quickly powered up into a strong tropical storm with 70 mph winds. In fact, it strengthened so rapidly that the NHC was forced to issue a hurricane warning for the Yucatan Peninsula. 

While it didn’t quite make hurricane status, it still brought high winds and driving rain to areas near Cancun. 

READ: Tropical Storm Gamma moves across Yucatan Peninsula

Gamma is forecast to turn west on Sunday and eventually west-southwest towards the Bay of Campache where a second landfall will be possible in southern Mexico. 

The good news, Gamma will pose no threat to Houston or the U.S. for that matter.