New Tropical Storm Earl packing 40 mph winds

Newly named Tropical Storm Earl formed in the Atlantic, with the National Hurricane Center on Sunday recommending residents in the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico monitor the storm’s progress.

In its 11 a.m. update, the hurricane center said Tropical Storm Earl is meandering north of the Virgin Islands. Heavy rains and flooding are expected to impact northern Leeward Islands, U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

The storm was located about 75 miles north of the northern St. Thomas and was moving to the west-northwest at about 8 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

“A turn toward the northwest with an additional decrease in forward speed is expected Sunday through Monday,” NHC forecasters said. “On the forecast track, the center of Earl is expected to pass just north of the northern Leeward Islands today, and north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tonight and Sunday.”

Forecast models call for Earl to curve away from the U.S., and the storm is not expected to be a threat for Florida.

“Slow strengthening is possible during the next few days,” the NHC said.

Hurricane Danielle lost some power yesterday and reverted to a tropical storm, but the system became a hurricane again last night. It now has maximum sustained winds of 80 mph and is 1,000 miles away from land in the northern Atlantic Ocean and inching north at 1 mph.

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.

Forecasters say an area of low pressure could form later this week from a tropical wave near Africa, and gradual development is possible as this system moves generally west-northwestward in the Atlantic.

As of early Sunday, the National Hurricane Center had given it a 20% chance of developing over the next five days.

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.

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