TAMPA, FL — Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center were busy Wednesday morning monitoring four separate storm systems in the Atlantic Ocean. While Hurricane Gert is making the most waves, three areas of disturbed weather are showing stronger signs for the potential to develop into the Atlantic hurricane season’s next named storms.
Hurricane Gert was located about 330 miles northwest of Bermuda as of the center’s Wednesday morning update. The Category 1 storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 90 mph while moving northeast at 21 mph. Gert is following a projected path that will take her into the open Atlantic over the next few days before encounters with cooler waters are expected to cause her to downgrade back to tropical storm status.
The three disturbances under watch were all located in the southern Atlantic Ocean as of Wednesday morning. The first system is an area of low pressure that was located about 900 miles east of the Lesser Antilles as of the hurricane center’s 8 a.m. Aug. 16 Tropical Weather Outlook report. The storm was moving westward at an estimated 15 mph. It’s expected to cross into the Caribbean Sea by Friday. “Upper-level winds are forecast to become a little more conducive for development during the next several days,” the center warned Wednesday morning. The system has been given a 30 percent chance of developing more over the next 48 hours. Chances rise to 40 percent over the next five days.
The second disturbance under watch was located a few hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands Wednesday morning. Forecasters expect the low pressure system to move west-northwest at 15 to 20 mph over the next few days. Gradual development is possible as the workweek continues, but forecasters say the storm may encounter less conducive conditions over the weekend. As of Wednesday, the system had been given a 30 percent chance of developing more over the next 48 hours. Those chances rise to 40 percent over the next five days.
A tropical wave near the coast of Africa is also under watch. The center says conditions do appear conducive for the system’s gradual development as it moves westward at an estimated 15 mph over the next few days. That storm has been given no chance of forming more over the next 48 hours. The chances, however, rise to 40 percent over the next five days.
Should the systems develop enough to earn names, the next three up are Harvey, Irma and Jose.
Also: a Miss America thief, a nail through the heart, your keys to Elvis' home and more.
While it’s still too early to tell what, if any, impacts the disturbances may have on Florida or the eastern seaboard, the uptick in activity serves as a reminder that the peak of the season has arrived. This year’s peak, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say, could be a busy one. The agency adjusted its seasonal forecast upward last week.
Back in May, NOAA forecast a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season. Last week, that number rose to a 60 percent chance.
Here Are The Top 10 Items You Need In Your Hurricane Emergency Kit
Forecasters call the period between mid-August and mid-October the “season within the season.” This eight-week period “is often the most active and dangerous time for tropical cyclone activity,” according to NOAA.
The peak period is historically responsible for major spikes in tropical weather activity, NOAA said. In fact, it accounts for roughly 78 percent of all tropical storm days on record. It is also the period when 87 percent of the category 1 and 2 hurricane days on record occurred. In addition, this period is responsible for “a whopping 96 percent of the major (category 3, 4 and 5) hurricane days.”
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year. Average seasons produce about 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes. Three of the hurricanes are generally deemed major.