After nearly two months of tropical silence, Friday picked up steam with the formation of the season’s first hurricane followed by another tropical storm.
As of the National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. advisory, Hurricane Danielle had lost some power to revert to Tropical Storm Danielle, and it continued to slog along about 70 mph west of the Azores in the mid-Atlantic while Tropical Storm Earl that formed late Friday is located about 115 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands.
Neither system is a threat to Florida.
Tropical Storm Earl is closest and headed west, but expected to curl to the north in the next few days. It has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph headed west-northwest at 13 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend out 175 miles.
“A turn toward the northwest with an additional decrease in forward speed is expected Sunday through Monday,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven. “On the forecast track, the center of Earl is expected to pass near or north of the northern Leeward Islands today, and north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tonight and Sunday.”
Tropical Storm Danielle has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph falling back from hurricane status overnight. Its tropical-storm-force winds extending out 125 miles.
“Little change in strength is expected today. Some slight strengthening is expected tonight through Monday, and Danielle could regain hurricane strength on Sunday,” Beven said.
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.
The formation of Danielle and Earl plays catchup since the first three named systems earlier in what was projected to be an above average tropical season. Tropical Storm Colin last fizzled out on July 3.
Typically, the fourth named storm of the year emerges by or before Aug. 15, according to the NOAA. The season runs from June 1-Nov. 30.
The NOAA still predicts an above-average year with 14 to 21 named storms as of an early August forecast. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with the traditional peak of hurricane season running from mid-August to mid-October.
The 2020 hurricane season set a record with 30 named systems, while 2021′s season was the third most active with 21 named systems. An average year calls for 14 named storms.