Tropical Storm Earl could become a hurricane: forecasters

Tropical Storm Earl could become a hurricane: forecasters
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Although Hurricane Danielle and Tropical Storm Earl are forecast to meander into the open Atlantic, Earl is forecast to become the first major hurricane of the season by the end of the week, according to the 5 p.m. advisory on Sunday. In addition, a third system has emerged off the west coast of Africa.

Tropical Storm Earl, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and located about 110 miles north of St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands, is moving northwest at 5 mph and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane moving toward the north earlier this week, forecasters said.

Earl’s tropical storm force winds extended up to 105 miles.

Earl is forecast to move away from the Caribbean on Monday and Tuesday. Hurricane Earl is expected to form on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center, and is expected to become a major hurricane (at least 111 mph) on Friday.

“Earl is expected to curve sharply and quickly, allowing the storm to pass well to the south and east of the island. Direct hits are unlikely, however, Earl may generate strong waves and rip currents that may affect the island this week,” said Alan Reppert, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.

At 5:00 pm Sunday, Danielle was nearly 1,000 miles from land in the North Atlantic Ocean and was inching north at 2 mph.

Forecasters say a low pressure area could form from a tropical wave near Africa later this week, and gradual development is possible as this system moves generally west-northwestward in the Atlantic.

As of Sunday night, the National Hurricane Center had given it a 20% chance of developing in the next five days.

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Hurricane Danielle’s maximum sustained winds were 85 mph on Sunday night, with gradual strengthening forecast through Monday.

Its hurricane force winds extended 25 miles from its center, with tropical storm force winds extending 105 miles. As of 5 p.m. Sunday, Danielle was about 980 miles west of the Azores while moving over the Atlantic.

Danielle and Earl are the first named storms to form in the Atlantic since early July, when Tropical Storm Colin formed off the coast of the Carolinas. This comes after a quiet August with no named storms, something that happened for the third time since 1961.

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

The next named storm to form will be Fiona.

Forecasters say dry air, dust from the Sahara and wind shear have been some of the reasons there haven’t been more storms this year.

Hurricane season ends on November 11, 30.

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