1 Jul 2014

First Atlantic hurricane of season expected this week

The south east coast of the US is closely watching a tropical depression off the east coast of Florida that is likely to become the first Atlantic hurricane of the season this week.

As of early Monday, Tropical Depression One was located around 105 miles south east of Cape Canaveral, Florida, with sustained winds of 35mph.

So far, conditions haven’t been favourable for it to develop, although that is set to change in the coming days, allowing it to gain strength as it moves parallel to the Atlantic coast.


Tropical storm watches are already in effect for the east coast of Florida, with warnings likely to be extended towards the mid-Atlantic coastline in the coming days.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami has Tropical Depression One gaining tropical storm status later on Tuesday, before reaching category one hurricane status late on Thursday.

What will the impact be?

Based on the latest track from the NHC (below), the centre of the storm only briefly makes landfall on the peninsula of North Carolina early on Friday, local time.


Even so, the storm will be close enough to the rest of the coast to bring heavy rain, strong winds and a risk of flash flooding later this week.

Rainfall amounts of 1-3 inches look possible along the south east coast for places affected by the periphery of the storm, with up to six inches on the peninsula of North Carolina, where the storm is expected to briefly make landfall.

El Nino’s influence on Atlantic hurricanes

In the coming months, El Nino is expected to develop, which is likely to have an effect on hurricane activity in the Atlantic ocean basin.

El Nino is a naturally occurring ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is characterised by unusually warm surface water temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific.

Generally, when El Nino occurs, it has been observed that there tend to be fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic ocean basin.

A significant reason for this is that wind shear – the changing speed and direction of wind with height in the atmosphere – increases.

This has a tug of war effect on storms, potentially stopping them from becoming organised and pulling them apart before they have a chance to develop significantly.

I’ll be keeping a close eye on how the storm develops in the coming days and posting updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

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