UPDATE: Tropical Storm Gonzalo forms, expected to reach hurricane strength tomorrow

Continuing its journey across the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Gonzalo has been buzzing with activity in the past 12 hours. Satellite imagery shows the system has been slowly strengthening as it approaches the Caribbean. (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Hours after being declared the fastest-ever ‘G’ named system, Tropical Storm Gonzalo continues to strengthen in the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday (July 22), on a path for sections of the Caribbean.

According to an 11:00 am advisory from the National Hurricane Centre in Florida, meteorologists watching the storm expect Gonzalo to become a hurricane by Thursday.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo is about 1,935 kilometres east of the southern Windward Islands and currently has maximum sustained winds at 85 kilometres/hour.

The small tropical cyclone is moving westerly at 22 kilometres/hour, however, the NHC expects this movement to speed up in the next few days as it gains strength.

“Gonzalo is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h). A general westward motion at a faster forward speed is expected during the next few days. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Gonzalo is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday,” the hurricane watchdog advised.

There are no coastal watches or warnings yet in effect for the eastern Caribbean.

In the meantime, the NHC further advised interests in the Windward Islands to continue to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Gonzalo.

The system became tropical depression seven at 4:00 am Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Wednesday morning, before quickly developing into Tropical Storm Gonzalo at 7:40 am EST.

Stay tuned for more updates.