Grace Emerges in East Atlantic; Fred Weakens But Still Hanging Around

Grace Becomes Seventh Named Storm in Atlantic; Fred Downgraded to Depressiion, but Defies Forecast of Friday Demise

Although the Eastern, Central, and Western Pacific basins have all been active, the Atlantic, which had been relatively much quieter, continues to pick up.  With the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season approaching the statistical peak, which is on September 10th, activity has picked up again with the formation of Tropical Storm Grace, the seventh named storm of the year in the Eastern Atlantic.  Meanwhile, Fred, which was forecast to become a remnant low on Friday, is still hanging around in the Central Pacific despite weakening to a depression.

Grace had been in the crosshairs for the past several days after departing the west coast of Africa.  The newly formed storm had shown signs of better organization as a disturbance on Saturday morning, and the National Hurricane Center indicated that if that trend continued during the day, then the disturbance would become a tropical cyclone.  Not only did that happen, but Grace took it a step further by becoming a named storm.  As of the 5:00 PM AST Advisory on Saturday, Grace became a tropical storm approximately 285 miles Southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

The newly formed storm, which had been upgraded to a depression some six hours earlier, is a minimal tropical storm with 40 mile per hour sustained winds with gusts up to 50 miles per hour.  Minimum central pressure is still quite high at 1007 millibars, or 29.74 inches of Hg.  Grace is moving at a good pace to the West at 14 miles per hour.  Currently, there are no watches or warnings in effect at this time.  Further strengthening is possible on Sunday before Grace begins to weaken on Monday afternoon.  The NHC forecast discussion has Grace with 60 mph winds by late Monday morning.  A low to mid-level subtropical ridge is expected to keep Grace on a westerly track over the next five days.

Meanwhile, Fred continues to linger despite grim forecasts on Friday that called for the storm’s demise as a remnant low.  Although Fred, which is now located some 1,340 miles to the southwest of the Azores in the Central Atlantic as of 5 PM AST on Saturday.  The tropical cyclone has been battling very hostile weather conditions in the Central Atlantic.  Strong shear has not been able to bring Fred down yet since the system still has a very well defined circulation.  The shearing environment is expected to abate, and conditions are expected to become favorable again for Fred if it can survive a little longer.  Sustained winds dropped to just below the minimum threshold to become a tropical storm with gusts above tropical storm force.  Minimum central pressure has risen up to 1008 millibars, or 29.77 inches of Hg.

Fred is about to escape the clutches of the subtropical ridge, and will be moving into a steering current regime that is much weaker.  Now, the NHC forecast discussion not only believes that Fred will be around by the end of the five day forecast period, but it will regain tropical storm status with winds of 45 miles per hour.  With the development of Grace in the Eastern Atlantic on Saturday, there have been 7 named storms, 2 hurricanes, and one major hurricanes.  After being dormant for the first two and a half weeks of August, the Atlantic has had 4 named storms, 2 hurricanes, and one major hurricane in the last 18 days.  Breaking down the number of storms by month (in parenthesis):  May (One), June (One), July (One), August (Three), and September (One).