Hurricane Earl is no longer expected to strengthen into the season’s first major hurricane. Instead, Earl will strengthen slightly in the Atlantic before it is forecast to slow down considerably Saturday night and Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
In the 8 a.m. advisory, Earl’s eye was looking more structured and it remained over warm waters experiencing low wind shear, but the storm’s emergence is forecast to end in the next 24 hours as it comes into contact and merges with a trough of pressure. Earl will then begin to slow down and transition into an extratropical storm.
On Friday morning, Earl had maximum sustained winds of about 100 miles per hour. Earl has hurricane-force winds capable of reaching 80 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reaching 205 miles from its center. The storm is located about 140 miles east-northeast of Bermuda, moving northward at about 18 mph. It should hit its fastest forward speed by Saturday when it is a post-tropical storm. It’s then expected to weaken Monday.
Forecast models call for Earl to curve away from the U.S., into the northeast Atlantic. The storm is not expected to threaten Florida, but its swells could mean higher risks of rip currents along South Florida beaches this weekend.
On Thursday, Earl’s maximum sustained winds had increased to 105 mph, making it the first Category 2 hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic season.
Bermuda is now under a tropical storm warning as Earl closes in. Earl is expected to produce up to 3 inches of rain over the island.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center is tracking two other systems that could become tropical storms.
An area of low pressure located near the central Atlantic Ocean could form into a tropical depression Frisday, though it no longer has high odds of doing so.
As of 5 a.m. Friday, the National Hurricane Center said it had 40% odds of developing over the next two to five days, down from 70% on Thursday.
The system only needs to develop slightly, the center’s update said, for it to become a short-lived tropical depression. After Friday, it will face upper-level winds later in this week, which are known to hinder storm development.
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A second tropical wave is expected to emerge off Africa this week. It has been given a 20% chance of developing over the next five days.
Hurricane Danielle weakened to a tropical storm early Thursday, and by 11 a.m. it became a post-tropical storm.
Danielle and Earl were the first named storms to form in the Atlantic since early July, when Tropical Storm Colin formed offshore of the Carolinas. This comes after a quiet August with no named storms, something that happened for only the third time since 1961.
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.
The next named storm to form will be Fiona.
Forecasters say dry air, Saharan dust and wind shear have been among the reasons there haven’t been more storms this year.
Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.