A quiet August in the tropics has morphed into a busier September with two named tropical disturbances traveling through the Atlantic Ocean: Hurricane Danielle and Tropical Storm Earl.
Of the two, Earl is having more current impact as it continues to swirl far off the coasts of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands on Monday morning. But while the dangerous center of the storm is no threat to land, heavy rains on the outer fringes of Earl have drenched that area of the Caribbean.
Earl is forecast to bring an additional 1-4 inches of rain Monday, with isolated areas of 8 inches across parts of Puerto Rico, the US and British Virgin Islands and the Leeward Islands. Limited urban and flash flooding is possible, with rapid rises and mudslides possible in areas of steep terrain — particularly in central Puerto Rico.
Conditions will improve later Monday as Earl drifts to the north and pulls away from the Caribbean. As of early Monday, the storm center was 190 miles north of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and was heading north at 5 mph.
An NOAA Hurricane Hunter found the center of Earl has strengthened a bit Monday morning and now has sustained winds of around 65 mph, with higher gusts. Earl is expected to strengthen during the week and become a hurricane on Wednesday afternoon, with long-range forecasts suggesting the storm could reach major hurricane strength by Saturday morning as it churns in the open Atlantic.
The National Hurricane Center expects Earl to react to a weakness in a ridge and turn more northerly over the next few days, but a turn to the right will keep the cyclone well east of the southeastern US coast and safely out to sea.
However, those in Bermuda should monitor Earl’s progress as the island does sit on the outer edge of the center’s forecast cone as the storm passes Friday morning.
Hurricane Danielle spins in the open Atlantic Ocean
Hurricane Danielle became the first Atlantic hurricane of the season on Friday after August finished with no named storms for the first time in decades. But Danielle is harmlessly spinning over the Central Atlantic and is nearly 1,000 miles from the nearest land mass.
After weakening to a tropical storm for most of Saturday, Danielle strengthened again into a Category 1 hurricane late Saturday and has held steady into Monday morning with maximum sustained winds of 85-90 and higher gusts.
The storm continues to slowly move off to the northeast, in the general direction of Northern Europe. Danielle is expected to slowly weaken starting on Tuesday, then lose its tropical characteristics on Thursday morning.
Tropical Storm Kay threatens Mexican coast
The tropics are heating up on the Pacific Ocean side of the continent, and now Tropical Storm Kay is keeping forecasters busy as it skirts the western Mexico coast this week.
The storm is currently about 235 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico and about 580 miles south-southeast of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California. Peak sustained winds are estimated at 60 mph.
While the storm is currently far from land, Kay is expected to strengthen into a hurricane Monday night or early Tuesday. What’s more, the forecasted track now has Kay curling to the north, approaching the southern tip of Baja California early Thursday as a hurricane.
The current long-range forecast cone indicates that what could be Hurricane Kay by then has the potential for landfall along the Baja California coast on Thursday or Friday, and hurricane watches may be necessary along portions of the Baja California peninsula later Monday.
Remnants of Javier head out into the Pacific Ocean
What was briefly Tropical Storm Javier in the eastern Pacific Ocean is no more. In Sunday’s 5 a.m. advisory, the NHC downgraded Javier to a post-tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 35 mph in what was its final advisory on Javier.
Javier’s center was located about 210 miles west of Punta Eugenia, Mexico, and is expected to slowly turn westward into the open Pacific with further weakening through the week.