Hurricane Nigel formed Monday and National Hurricane Center forecasters expect it to “rapidly intensify” into a major Category 3 hurricane by Tuesday.
The National Hurricane Center dubs any storm as “rapid intensifying” when it gains 35 mph or more of maximum sustained wind speed in a 24-hour period.
Its top wind speeds could reach up to 120 mph, forecasters said Monday.
As of 5 a.m. Monday, Nigel’s maximum sustained winds were at 80 mph, about 1,510 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and moving northwest at 12 mph.
Nigel is expected to be a fast-moving storm, generally headed north in the central tropical Atlantic through Tuesday with a predicted turn northwest thereafter.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from Nigel’s center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.
Nigel currently poses no threat to land and could begin gradually weakening midweek, forecasters said.
The National Hurricane Center is also watching a tropical wave that is forecast to emerge off the west coast of Africa by Wednesday and potentially become a tropical depression. As of 8 a.m. Monday, forecasters are giving the system a 70% chance of developing in the next seven days while it moves west across the eastern Atlantic.
Forecasters are also monitoring a non-tropical area of low pressure could form near the southeast coast of the United States late this week. This system is forecast to move north or northwest and “could acquire some subtropical characteristics if it remains offshore,” according to the latest advisory It has a 30% chance to develop in the next seven days.
The next named storm would be Ophelia.
The National Hurricane Center, which operates under the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, has forecast 14 to 21 named storms for the 2023 Atlantic season and six to 11 hurricanes, two to five of which would be major hurricanes.
As of Sept 18, there have been 15 named storms, five hurricanes — three of which were major hurricanes, meaning Category 3 or above. Those were Hurricane Lee, a rare Category 5; Hurricane Franklin, a Category 4; and Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall on Florida’s Big Bend region at Category 3 strength on Aug 30.
Hurricane season officially runs through Nov. 30.
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