What started as an area of thunderstorms that rolled off the African continent early last week has sped across the Atlantic Ocean and is now a threat to islands of the Caribbean Sea and coastal Mexico. As of 2 AM the National Hurricane Center is giving this system a 70% probability of becoming a named system. Should that happen it would become Tropical Storm Earl. That would make this the fifth named storm of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season. 

The latest tropical forecast models project that this system will continue to move rapidly westward at 20-25 mph. On its current track the system will past just to the south of the island nation of Jamaica. The official guidance from the Hurricane Center suggests that the storm will most likely stay in the Western Caribbean and make landfall along the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

That track when extended to the five day outlook brings the system across the Yucatan and in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. Most of the guidance is in agreement that the storm would move across the Bay of Campeche and eventually make a second landfall on the Gulf Coast of Mexico well south of the United States.

The latest information on the system suggested that top winds were at 40 to 45 mph. These winds were reported by ships in the area. Those wind speeds are above the threshold needed for the system to be declared a tropical storm. The minimum winds for a tropical storm are 39 mph.