Tropical storm Cristobal has formed in the Bay of Campeche as the third named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Cristobal is forecast to head into the Gulf of Mexico, with a course towards the United States Gulf Coast and a landfall as a strengthening tropical storm, or perhaps even as hurricane Cristobal, now seen as a possibility.

Tropical storm Cristobal has formed out of a low pressure remnant that formed after a Pacific tropical storm named Amanda crossed over Central American country of Guatemala and crossed Mexico.

Once the low pressure remnant emerged over the Bay of Campeche it became a tropical depression and then was soon upgraded to tropical storm Cristobal.

Tropical storm Cristobal is currently packing 40 mph sustained winds and higher gusts, with minimum central pressure of 1004 mb.

Forecast models show Cristobal moving steadily north across the Gulf, which does mean it could be the first landfall threat to insurance and reinsurance market interests of the 2020 Atlantic storm season.

The storm is now forecast to head slowly out into the Gulf of Mexico after meandering for a time near the shore, with strengthening likely and many forecast models are showing storm Cristobal heading towards the U.S. Gulf Coast and potentially reaching hurricane status before its arrival.

Tropical storm Cristobal forecast path and track

The forecast models are largely shifting towards a more central Gulf Coast landfall scenario, but there is still significant uncertainty and range in the forecast path for Cristobal, as well as in terms of potential intensity.

One scenario is shown below from GFS forecast model runs, sourced from

You can view a recent forecast model run showing the intensity guidance for tropical storm Cristobal below, sourced from

It clearly shows the potential for steady intensification of tropical storm Cristobal’s winds as it moves across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico towards the United States coastline.

At this time, there is great uncertainty over how strong Cristobal could become, whether it can reach hurricane force winds and also where precisely the landfall location might be (if it even makes it to the Gulf Coast shoreline).

It’s important to stress just how uncertain this is right now, but also that insurance and reinsurance interests should certainly watch Cristobal closely as it heads north.

This should all become clearer over the coming days, as more certainty will be gained from the forecasts as storm Cristobal moves away from the Mexican coast and heads north across the warm Gulf waters.

Track the 2020 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season on our dedicated page and we’ll update you as new information emerges of relevance to insurance, reinsurance and ILS markets.

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