Tropical Storm Philippe is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane later this week with top winds of 85 mph, while a downgraded Rina is now a remnant low.
As of 2 p.m. Eastern time Monday, Philippe was located about 55 miles east-southeast of Barbuda, moving northwest at 7 mph. Its maximum sustained winds were holding steady at 50 mph, with tropical-storm-force winds extended out 175 miles.
Philippe is forecast to pass near or just northeast of the northern Leeward Islands on Monday into Monday night, then arc north and eventually northeast. The storm is projected to become a hurricane by late Thursday or early Friday, at which point it should be traveling southeast of Bermuda and headed into the Atlantic.
Antigua has issued a tropical storm warning for Barbuda, and the National Hurricane Center said the storm could bring heavy rains and flooding to portions of the eastern Caribbean. Tropical storm conditions are expected in both Antigua and Barbuda on Monday night.
Philippe and Rina had interacted last week in an uncommon phenomenon in the Atlantic known as the Fujiwhara Effect, where two tropical cyclones within 345 miles to about 860 miles of each other start to spin around a common point, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Two storms closer in strength can gravitate towards each other until they reach a common point and merge, or merely spin each other around for a while before shooting off on their own paths,” the National Hurricane Center said. Rarely, it can create one larger storm rather than two smaller ones.
The far eastern Caribbean, which could get 4 to 6 inches of rain. The northern Leeward Islands were forecast to get 2 to 4 inches of rain. There is potential for isolated flooding, according to the latest advisory.
Swells from Philippe will affect parts of the northern Leeward Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and could cause dangerous rip currents and surf, according to the NHC.
So far this season in the Atlantic, there have been 16 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 will be Sean.
Hurricane season officially runs through Nov. 30.
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