By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
August 7,2017, 7:06:52PM,EDT
Tropical Storm Franklin formed over the western Caribbean Sea on Sunday and threatens to strike Mexico twice this week.The combination of very warm water and diminishing wind shear will allow Franklin to strengthen before reaching the Yucatan Peninsula Monday night.
Wind shear is the changing of speed and direction of winds at different layers of the atmosphere. Strong wind shear can prevent tropical development or shred apart mature tropical storms or hurricanes.
As a result, Franklin may strengthen rapidly prior to its first landfall Monday night.
"Franklin could be close to hurricane strength when it makes landfall over the southeastern Yucatan Peninsula later Monday night," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
People on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula should hurry preparations due to a direct hit from a tropical system near hurricane strength during Monday night. A hurricane has sustained winds of 74 mph or greater with higher gusts.
Franklin also affect Honduras and Nicaragua, Belize, southeastern Mexico and northern Guatemala. Northern Belize could be hit hard, if Franklin shifts its track slightly farther south.
Downpours and gusty thunderstorms will ramp up and spread westward, while seas and surf build in the region.
"Mudslides could get triggered in the higher terrain of Central America," AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister said.
The worst of the storm will pass southeast of the Cayman Islands. However, rough seas will occur around the islands into Monday night.
The risk for flooding rain, damaging winds and rough seas across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and neighboring Belize will increase as Franklin strengthens and approaches.
Life-threatening flooding and damaging winds can occur as the storm crosses the Yucatan Peninsula late Monday night and Tuesday.
"Franklin will bring flooding rainfall with totals of 4-8 inches in some locations, along with damaging wind gusts of 40-60 mph to the Yucatan Peninsula," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Brown.
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The strengthening trend should be disrupted as Franklin crosses the Yucatan Peninsula.
"After some weakening occurs into Tuesday, Franklin is likely to restrengthen over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night and Wednesday," Kottlowski said. "Franklin could be a hurricane by the time it makes a second landfall between Tampico and Veracruz, Mexico, on Thursday morning."
Residents and visitors from north of Veracruz to near Tampico, Mexico, should make the necessary preparations for Franklin's landfall with flooding rain, damaging winds, an inundating storm surge and potentially life-threatening mudslides.
In addition to flooding and mudslides, eastern Mexico may also face widespread tree damage and lengthy power outages. Damage to weak structures could also occur.
High pressure nosing over the northern Gulf of Mexico is expected to prevent Franklin from turning northward to Texas. However, rain may still graze South Texas, and rough seas may endanger swimmers all along the state's coastline as it moves into Mexico.
Meanwhile, downpours not associated with Franklin will move westward across the northern islands of the Caribbean early this week. Later this week, a tropical system, dubbed 99L, could have some impact on the Leeward Islands.