The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on three systems Tuesday night – Tropical Storms Gabrielle, Humberto and a low-pressure system that meteorologists are giving a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within five days.
The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center predicts that Tropical Storm Humberto will become a hurricane sometime today.
As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, maximum sustained winds were 70 mph with higher gusts. To reach minimum Category 1 Hurricane status, Humberto needs maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph. The NHC’s intensity forecast calls for the storm to reach 75 mph within the next 12 hours.
If Humberto does become a hurricane, it will be the first of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. This is the first year since 2002 that no hurricane formed through the month of August. Records show that on average at least one hurricane forms in a season by Aug. 10.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate experts have predicted that as many as six to nine hurricanes could form during the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. As of Sept. 9, eight named storms have formed. NOAA’s forecast calls for 13 to 19.
Monday’s intensity forecast from the NHC called for Humberto’s maximum sustained winds to increase to 100 mph, which would have made it a Category 2 hurricane. Tuesday night’s forecast shows the storm reaching only 85 mph at its peak, within 36 hours, before winds begin to lessen. Within three days, Humberto’s winds are predicted to decrease to tropical storm status, and by the end of the five-day forecast period, Humberto’s winds are forecast to be down to 45 mph. A minimum tropical storm has maximum sustained winds of 39 mph.
Humberto is located about 270 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands. It is moving to the northwest at about 7 mph. It is expected to turn north and pick up speed within the next two days before taking a turn to the west. It is still too soon to tell if the storm will affect any landmasses.
Meanwhile Tropical Storm Gabrielle continues to bring wind and rain to the island of Bermuda. Gabrielle regenerated back into a tropical storm early Tuesday morning with maximum wind speeds of 40 mph. As of 11 p.m., winds had increased to 60 mph with higher gusts. The storm was about 25 miles south-southwest of Bermuda.
Gabrielle is expected to pass near or just west of Bermuda overnight. The storm is then expected to move northeastward and become post-tropical within 96 hours.
The NHC also is watching a low-pressure system located over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. It is expected to move across the Yucatan Peninsula overnight and enter the Bay of Campeche on Wednesday. The system has a high chance – 70 percent – of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next five days. Tracking maps show the storm coming ashore somewhere along the coast of Mexico or maybe south Texas.
Andrea was the season’s 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 Erin’s 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, the storm regenerated Sept. 10, taking aim at Bermuda.
The peak months of the Atlantic basin hurricane season are August through October, and about 55 percent of tropical storms and hurricanes form during the months of September and October.