By Noah Smith
Tropical Storm Gonzalo is continuing its path across the Atlantic Ocean, aiming for the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles as soon as Saturday. Gonzalo formed late Tuesday, making it the earliest date in history a seventh named storm has emerged in the Atlantic Ocean. The previous record was set in 2005. An eighth storm, Tropical Storm Hanna, is expected to make landfall in Texas tomorrow.
The most recent NOAA report from Friday described Gonzalo as “very poorly organized” with winds maxing out at 47 miles per hour. However, the report noted that “small systems like Gonzalo are notorious for quick changes in structure and intensity…” and that it is too soon to predict whether or not the storm will strengthen significantly before hitting land. It is expected to reach the southern Windward Islands, including Grenada, by Saturday, where it could produce flash flooding, according to NOAA.
Tropical Storm Hanna has sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and is expected to intensify, according to NOAA. In expectation of that, the agency issued a hurricane warning from Baffin Bay to Mesquite Bay, Texas.
As part of an ongoing annual response in anticipation of Atlantic hurricane season, Direct Relief prepositioned a Hurricane Prep Pack in Grenada this week in coordination with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. Shipments to more than 50 U.S.-based partners are scheduled to begin next week. Each pack is equipped to treat 100 patients for 72 hours.
To help inform where to send the packs, Direct Relief’s research and analysis team evaluate social vulnerability and potential disaster impact to assess where the need for the packs is likely to be greatest.
The hurricane preparedness program began in 2006, and was based on knowledge accumulated from previous hurricane response efforts in which the extreme difficulty of delivering critical medicines and medical supplies to islands after a hurricane became apparent due to breakdowns in communication and logistics.
Direct Relief is monitoring as the situation develops and will address any needs as they arise.
Additional reporting contributed by Chris Alleway