Tropical Storm Earl forecast to be season’s 1st major hurricane


While the National Hurricane Center expects Tropical Storm Earl to become this hurricane’s season’s first major hurricane later this week, it joins Hurricane Danielle in a predicted path to meander in the open Atlantic. All the while, forecasters are keeping track of a third tropical wave that has emerged off the west coast of Africa.

In its 5 a.m. update on Tuesday, the NHC said Tropical Storm Earl resumed a slow northward motion that is expected to continue for the next several days followed by a turn to the northeast with some acceleration.

With maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, Tropical Storm Earl is forecast to become a hurricane by Wednesday, the NHC said. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from its center. Heavy rains and flooding are expected to impact the northern Leeward Islands, U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico today.

The NHC on Monday recommended residents in the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Earl, which formed in the Atlantic late Friday.

The storm is located about 315 miles north of St. Thomas and 615 miles away from Bermuda. Earl is currently moving northward at about 7 mph.

Forecast models call for Earl to curve away from the U.S., and the storm is not expected to be a threat to Florida.

“Slow strengthening is possible during the next few days,” the NHC said.

Hurricane Danielle lost some power Saturday and reverted to a tropical storm, but the system became a hurricane again Saturday night. It now has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and is 835 miles away from The Azores and inching west-northwest at 8 mph. It is expected to lose its hurricane status by Thursday.

Danielle became the season’s first hurricane on Friday, more than three weeks later than the statistical average of Aug. 11, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s the latest an Atlantic season hurricane has formed since 2013 when Hurricane Humberto formed on Sept. 11.

Forecasters say an area of low pressure could form later this week from a tropical wave near Africa, and gradual development is possible as this system moves generally west-northwestward in the Atlantic. A tropical depression could form in the next couple of days as the Atlantic environment remains ideal for storm development. Although, later this week upper-level winds are expected to become less conducive for development.

As of Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center had given it a 40% chance of developing over the next two days and a 60% chance in the next five days.

The formation of Danielle and Earl plays catchup since the first three named systems earlier in what was projected to be an above-average tropical season. Tropical Storm Colin last fizzled out on July 3.

Typically, the fourth named storm of the year emerges by or before Aug. 15, according to the NOAA. The season runs from June 1-Nov. 30.

The NOAA still predicts an above-average year with 14 to 21 named storms as of an early August forecast. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with the traditional peak of hurricane season running from mid-August to mid-October.

The 2020 hurricane season set a record with 30 named systems, while 2021′s season was the third most active with 21 named systems. An average year calls for 14 named storms.


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