Tropical Depression Cristobal Meanders over the Yucatan

Tropical Depression Cristobal meandered over the Yucatan peninsula on Thursday. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Depression Cristobal was located at latitude 17.8°N and longitude 90.4°W which put it about 145 miles (235 km) south of Campeche, Mexico.  Cristobal was moving toward the east at 3 m.p.h. (5 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1000 mb.

Tropical Depression Cristobal weakened on Thursday while the circulation meandered over the Yucatan peninsula.  Winds speeds gradually diminished because much of the circulation of Cristobal was over land.  Bands in the western half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  There were still strong thunderstorms in bands in the eastern half of the circulation.  Some of those bands were dropping heavy rain over the Yucatan peninsula, northern Belize and northern Guatemala.

Tropical Depression Cristobal will move around the western end of a high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea during the next several days.  The high will steer Cristobal toward the north.  On its anticipated track Tropical Depression Cristobal will move over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Friday.  Cristobal could approach the coast around the northern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

Tropical Depression Cristobal will move into an environment somewhat favorable for intensification when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico.  Cristobal will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move under the western side of an upper level ridge.  The ridge will produce southerly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause moderate vertical wind shear.  The wind shear will be large enough to slow intensification but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent strengthening of Cristobal.  Tropical Depression Cristobal is likely to intensify back into a tropical storm over the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Cristobal could approach the coast of Louisiana on Sunday.  Watches could be issued for portions of the coast on Friday.