March 30, 2023

Tropical Storm Bill forms in the Atlantic

Tropical Storm Bill strengthened from a tropical depression in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Carolina Monday night.

It is the second named storm of the North Atlantic Hurricane Season.

No watches or warnings have been issued in relation to Bill, since it is moving away from the US coastline toward the Northeast at a fast pace, NHC said.

Current forecasts have Bill coming close to the Nova Scotia coastline as a post-tropical storm by Wednesday before dissipating.

[Original story, published at 10:01 p.m. ET]

Tropical depression strengthens to tropical storm

Tropical storm Bill formed about 100 miles east of Cape Hatteras.

There is a high chance of tropical development during the next 48 hours off the US East Coast.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph with higher gusts, according to the latest update from NHC.

The storm is expected to push away from the US in the days ahead, leading to some cloudiness, scattered showers and higher surf for portions of the Outer Banks.

“The system should begin to weaken by Tuesday night and is expected to dissipate on Wednesday,” the NHC said Monday evening.

The system will be entering the colder water off the coast of Canada by mid-week, preventing the storm from strengthening further.

Possible development in the Gulf of Mexico

There is a high chance of tropical developement in the Gulf of Mexico over the next few days.

A cluster of storms in the southern Gulf of Mexico has been sitting there for several days. Weather models hint that the storms could become more organized and push into the central Gulf.

“Some slow development of this disturbance is possible during the next few days while it meanders near the coast of Mexico,” said the NHC.

“A tropical depression could form late in the week when the system begins to move slowly northward,” said the NHC.

The area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico could impact the Gulf Coast states this weekend.

Both the American and European forecast models are hinting at a possible landfall along the central Gulf of Mexico by this weekend. It’s still too early to tell with certainty where this area will end up or how strong it will be.

The NHC gives this area a 20% percent chance of development in the next 48 hours and 70% chance of development in the next five days.

Regardless, “heavy rainfall is possible over portions of Central America and southern Mexico during the next several days,” said the NHC.

We could see more torrential rain across the Gulf Coast this weekend.

Beyond that, the focus will be concentrated along the Gulf Coast, where the storms are expected end up next. Even if the disturbance doesn’t develop into anything tropical, it could still bring a lot of rain to areas in the Gulf of Mexico that have already been soaked. This could potentially lead to more flash flooding.

A third area to watch off the coast of Africa

If two areas weren’t enough, there’s a third area to watch well out in the Atlantic. A tropical wave off the coast of Africa is producing showers and storms.

“Some development of this system is possible during the next few days before a combination of dry air aloft and strong upper-level winds limit any chance of formation while the wave is over the central tropical Atlantic Ocean late week,” said the NHC.

This system has a low chance of development. The NHC gives it a 10% chance of development during the next 48 hours and a 20% chance of development during the next five days.

Waves off the coast of Africa certainly can impact the US, but it’s less likely this early in the season. Later in the season, wind shear is weaker in the Atlantic, which makes conditions more favorable for these waves to make the entire journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

Hurricane season

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting another busy year in the Atlantic Basin. It foresees anywhere from 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes — which are a category 3 or higher.

In an average season, we see 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

The 2020 season was unprecedented. We had 30 named storms, with 11 of those making landfall in the US. Fourteen were hurricanes and 7 became major hurricanes.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

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