Tropical Storm Humberto is about 120 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands Monday night. It is forecast to become the seasonís first hurricane on Tuesday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationís climate experts say as many as six to nine hurricanes could form during the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.
As of Sept. 9, eight named storms have formed. NOAAís forecast calls for 13 to 19, but none has strengthened into a hurricane. But that could change on Tuesday.
Records show that on average at least one hurricane forms in a season by Aug. 10. This is the first year since 2002 that no hurricane formed through the month of August.
The National Hurricane Center forecast for Tropical Storm Humberto calls for it to become the first hurricane of 2013 perhaps as early as Tuesday afternoon. Within 48 hours, winds speeds are expected to increase to 100 mph, making Humberto a Category 2 hurricane.
After that, winds are expected to decrease with Humberto losing its hurricane status within 96 hours. Most likely, Humberto wonít be the seasonís first major hurricane as the storm is expected to encounter strong wind shear within about three days. NOAA forecasts as many as three to five major hurricanes, Category 3 or higher will form this year.
Humberto is located 120 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands. It is not forecast to be a threat to any landmass within the five-day forecast period.
Meanwhile, the NHC is monitoring the remnants of Tropical Storm Gabrielle located about 350 miles south of Bermuda. Meteorologists say environmental conditions are ďvery conduciveĒ for development and it could become a tropical depression within the next day or so.
The peak months of the Atlantic basin hurricane season are August through October. The basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Andrea was the seasonís first tropical storm. It formed June 5 in the east-central Gulf of Mexico. Andrea had winds of about 65 mph when it made landfall in Dixie County about 10 miles south of Steinhatchee about 5:40 p.m. June 7. Andrea brought wind and rain to Pinellas County, causing minor damage to the beaches. Rain bands from the storm spawned a tornado that touched down in Gulfport the morning of June 6.
Tropical Storm Barry started as a tropical depression on Monday, June 17, as it approached the coast of Belize on the northeastern coast of Central America. It strengthened into a tropical storm June 19 in the southern Gulf of Mexico and made landfall along the coast of Mexico June 20.
The third tropical storm was short-lived. Chantal formed July 7 over the central tropical Atlantic Ocean and degenerated into a tropical wave July 10.
Dorian was the fourth tropical storm of 2013. It formed the morning of July 24 in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. It was downgraded to a tropical depression July 27.
Erin brought the count to five. It started as a depression on Aug. 15 and strengthened into a tropical storm the same day. Erin was downgraded back to a depression on Aug. 16, strengthened into a storm again on Aug. 17 before wind speeds decreased and Erinís status returned to a depression.
Tropical Storm Fernand began as tropical depression six on Aug. 25 in the southwest Gulf of Mexico and strengthened into a named storm that same day. It made landfall Aug. 26 along the coast of Mexico.
Gabrielle was another short-lived storm, forming Sept. 5 and dissipating the next day. However, there is a chance that the storm will generate close to Bermuda this week.
About 55 percent of tropical storms and hurricanes form during the months of September and October. Pinellas County is offering information on hurricanes and ways to prepare through its eSeries: Prepare to Survive. The 15-minute programs are available at www.youtube.com/PCCTV1 and www.pinellascounty.org/eseries.