ORLANDO, Fla. — Hurricane Sam finally devolved from a major hurricane Sunday after spending more than a week over Category 3 status. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Victor continued to fall apart, but the National Hurricane Center began investigating a system closer to Florida.
Located over the southeastern Bahamas near southwestern Atlantic waters is a large area of disorganized cloudiness and showers associated with a surface trough that could form into the next tropical depression or storm, according to the 8 a.m. EDT update from the NHC.
“Upper-level winds are expected to be only marginally conducive, and any development of this system should be slow to occur while it moves west-northwestward at around 10 mph through Monday, followed by a slow northwestward motion through the end of the week,” said the NHC’s Daniel Brown.
The system has only a 10% chance of forming in the next two days, and 20% in the next five.
If it were to spin up into a system with 39 mph sustained winds or greater, it would become Tropical Storm Wanda, the last name of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season list before the NHC would move to a second alphabet.
Only 2005 and the record-breaking 2020 had to use more than 21 names in a single hurricane season.
Farther from home but still affecting Florida’s shores is Hurricane Sam, which after 7 3/4 days with winds of more than 115 mph finally died down overnight. The hurricane twice last week reached sustained wind speeds of 150 mph, making it tied with this season’s Hurricane Ida for the strongest storm.
The long-lasting major hurricane is tied for fourth for the most consecutive days since the satellite era began in 1966, according to hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University.
It had maintained Category 3 through the 11 p.m. NHC advisory Saturday, but dropped to 100 mph sustained winds, a Category 2 hurricane, as of Sunday morning.
“Further weakening is forecast during the next few days, and Sam is expected transition into a powerful post-tropical cyclone on Monday,” forecasters said.
It’s located about 625 miles south of Newfoundland moving northeast at 16 mph.
While more than 1,500 miles from the coast of Florida, the threat of heavy surf that has been traveling across the Atlantic in the last week remains.
Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue continues to fly the red and purple flags for both dangerous surf conditions and dangerous wildlife such as jellyfish. It performed nine rescues on Saturday and hazardous conditions are expected throughout Sunday.
Farther east in the Atlantic, what is now Tropical Depression Victor is continuing to fall apart.
It’s now located about 1,080 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands moving northwest at 12 mph with sustained winds of 35 mph.
“Some gradual weakening is expected during the next couple of days, and Victor is forecast to become a remnant low by late Monday and dissipate on Tuesday,” forecasters said.
Victor is the 20th named system of the busy 2021 season with just under two months to go.
The hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.©2021 Orlando Sentinel. Visit orlandosentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.