As Hurricane Nigel weakens and turns to the northeast toward Iceland, forecasters are turning their attention to a system off Africa that is likely to become a tropical depression late this week or weekend.
Forecasters also have their eyes on a non-tropical low that may form off Florida’s east coast and eventually take on some cyclone movement, as a tropical storm would. The developing low will cause heavy rainfall and possible flooding this week in South Florida before moving north.
The non-tropical low off the east coast of Florida is currently disorganized, but has the potential to develop into a storm with cyclonic circulation, said Will Redman of the National Weather Service. Forecasters aid that system had a 10% chance of developing in the next two days and a 40% chance in the next 7 days.
As a result of the offshore low, South Florida will be increasingly stormy as the week continues, said National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Garcia. Once the low moves north, there could be a drying trend for the weekend.
“The big thing we’ll need to watch through the week is a chance of heavy rainfall and maybe even flooding, and strong wind gusts from the thunderstorms that could develop,” Garcia said. Flooding could occur through Friday, he said.
“Regardless of subtropical development, this low could bring gusty winds, heavy rain, and high surf conditions to portions of the coastal Carolinas into the coastal Mid-Atlantic states this weekend,” according to the latest advisory. “Gale-force northerly winds are expected off the southeastern U.S. coast Friday through Saturday,” said the National Hurricane Center.
The tropical wave that emerged off the west coast of Africa on Wednesday is expected to merge with another disturbance to its west and gradually develop into a tropical depression as it moves west into the eastern central tropical Atlantic. It is currently moving west at 10 to 15 mph and has a 10% chance of developing in the next two days and a 70% chance of developing in the next 7 days.
In its 11 a.m. Eastern time update, the National Hurricane Center said that Nigel has weakened to a Category 1 storm with 90 mph winds.
The storm is about 650 miles east-northeast of Bermuda, moving north at 18 mph, and is expected to turn to the northeast, accelerate and gradually weaken over the next two or three days. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from Nigel’s center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.
Swells from the storm will affect Bermuda for the next few days, causing potentially dangerous surf and rip currents.
Nigel currently poses no threat to land and could begin gradually weakening Thursday and be a post-tropical cyclone by Friday, forecasters said.
The NHC, 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.
So far this season in the Atlantic, there have been 14 named storms, six of which were hurricanes. Of those, three 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.
The next named storm would be Ophelia.
Hurricane season officially runs through Nov. 30.
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