A large area of thunderstorms developed near the center of Tropical Depression 4 during during the overnight hours. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft found sustained winds to tropical storm force and at 8:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the National Hurricane Center classified the system as Tropical Storm Danielle.
At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Danielle was located at latitude 20.6°N and longitude 96.0°W which put it about 95 miles (150 km) east-southeast of Tuxpan, Mexico. Danielle was moving toward the west-northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1008 mb. The government of Mexico has issued a Tropical Storm warning for the portion of the coast from Laguna Verde to Rio Panuco.
The center of an upper level ridge moved near the center of Danielle on Sunday night, which caused the upper level winds to be weaker over the core of the circulation. As a result, a large area of thunderstorms was able to develop and persist around the center of circulation. Since Danielle was over water where the Sea Surface Temperature was near 30°C, the circulation was able to extract energy from the ocean and Danielle intensified into a tropical storm.
The thunderstorms at the core of Danielle are generating upper level divergence that is pumping mass out in all direction. The pressure at the surface is likely to decrease which should produce an additional increase in the wind speed. Danielle will be over very warm water until it makes landfall on the coast of Mexico later today. It is likely to intensify further before it reaches the coast.
An ridge of high pressure extends from the Atlantic Ocean into the Gulf of Mexico. The ridge is steering Danielle toward the west-northwest and that general motion is expected to continue. On its anticipated track the center of Danielle could be very near Tuxpan on the coast of Mexico in about 12 hours. Danielle could produce a storm surge of several feet along the coast. It could also cause some wind damage, although that should be minimal. The increase in thunderstorms near the center of circulation means that Danielle will produce locally heavy rain when it moves inland. The heavy rain will create the risk of flash floods and mudslides on steeper slopes.
Danielle was designated a tropical storm on June 20, which makes it the fourth Atlantic tropical storm of 2016. June 20th is the earliest date on record on which the fourth Atlantic tropical storm has formed. The previous record was June 23, which was the date when Tropical Storm Debbie was named in 2012. During the record setting year of 2005, the fourth Atlantic tropical storm was not named until July 5.