Hurricane Earl is moving slowly but is expected to keep strengthening throughout the week and possibly become this year’s first major hurricane.
In its 8 a.m. update on Wednesday, the NHC said maximum sustained winds for Hurricane Earl have increased to about 85 miles per hour and it is expected to become a major hurricane, with winds stronger than 120 mph, by the end of this week — a major storm is classified as a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds stronger than 110 mph. Previously, Earl strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday night.
At the present time, Earl has hurricane-force winds capable of reaching 40 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reaching 125 miles from its center. The storm is located about 485 miles south of Bermuda, moving northward at about 6 mph, and is on track to pass to the southeast of Bermuda by Friday morning. The Bermuda Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the island.
Forecast models call for Earl to curve away from the U.S., into the northeast Atlantic. The storm is not expected to threaten Florida.
The NHC is also still monitoring three other targets in the tropics — none of which currently present a threat to the U.S.
After briefly losing its hurricane status, Danielle became a hurricane again Saturday night and has maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. It is 690 miles away from the Azores and moving west-northwest at 14 mph. Danielle has a reach of 35 miles from its center with hurricane-force winds and tropical-storm-force winds reaching up to 175 miles. Danielle is expected to downgrade in power 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.
Additionally, the NHC is keeping its eyes on an area of low pressure several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, and gradual development is possible as this system moves generally west-northwestward in the Atlantic at 15 to 20 mph. 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.
As of Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center had given it a 60% chance of developing over the next two to five days.
Lastly, a tropical wave over west Africa is expected to emerge over the water in the next day or two. Atlantic conditions appear ripe for its maturity into a storm, which has a 30% chance of doing so in the next five days.
The Atlantic basin is full of tropical activity but for a large part of the season, it remained quiet contrary to the average season, according to NOAA records, which show that the seventh storm of the year typically emerges by or before Sept. 3 and the third hurricane of the year is noted by or before Sept. 7.
In August, the NOAA repeated its preseason forecast for an above-average hurricane season, calling for 14 to 21 named tropical storms. An average season experiences 14. The majority of this activity is predicted to take place between mid-August and mid-October.
The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.