2nd Named Storm and 3rd Depression Emerge
The Atlantic Hurricane Season is a little more than a month old, and the Fourth of July holiday has just passed. Still, until a few days ago, the basin had only had one named storm develop, which put it behind last year’s pace, but still was a little more than average. Usually a named storm develops once every two years by July 1st.
By this time a year ago, the Atlantic had three named storms by the beginning of July. Two years ago, there were four named storms by July 1st. So even though, this was the third consecutive year, the Atlantic produced a named storm by the beginning of July, conditions are behind the pace of recent times. This week, however, activity began to pick to up in the Atlantic.
First, a tiny storm system drew attention in the Central and Western Atlantic. Forecasters watching it at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida didn’t give it much of a positive prognosis at the outset. In the first advisory issued by the NHC on Thursday morning, July 5th, the forecast called for then Tropical Depression Two to dissipate into an open wave by the end of this weekend.
Less than 24 hours later, at 5:00 AM EDT on Friday, July 6th, Beryl became not only the 2nd named storm of the 2018 Atlantic season, but also the first hurricane despite only having hurricane force winds extend only 10 miles and tropical storm force winds reach out about 35 miles. Beryl strengthened to have winds slightly stronger than minimal hurricane force at 80 miles per hour with gusts up to 100 miles per hour. The diameter of its eye was only 5 nautical miles, and its minimal pressure fell to only 994 millibars, or 29.38 inches of Hg.
Thirty hours later though, Beryl waned again, and dwindled to a tropical storm with only 65 miles per hour. The storm continued to degrade as Saturday afternoon progressed in the Western Atlantic. As of the 8:00 PM EDT Advisory on Saturday evening (July 7th), Beryl’s maximum sustained winds with 50 miles per hour with its pressure rising to 1003 millibars, or 29.62 inches of Hg. Wind gusts have fallen off to 65 miles per hour.
Tropical Storm Beryl is currently located some 550 miles to the East-Southeast of the Lesser Antilles. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Dominica and Guadeloupe. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Barbuda, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten. Interests in the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic should closely monitor the progress of Beryl.
The latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center on Beryl calls for it to head to the West-Northwest through the center of the Lesser Antilles, and then head just to the south of Puerto Rico. Nevertheless, Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria last September, and have around 10,000 residents still without power, remains within the NHC’s cone of uncertainty. The intensity forecast indicates Beryl will regress to a depression within 48 hours.
Meanwhile, a new system has garnered attention over the last 24 hours. The third depression of the season formed some 230 miles to the South-Southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina as of 5:00 PM EDT on Friday afternoon, July 6th. Winds remained sustained at only 30 miles per hour during the first 24 hours of TD #3’s life, but increased to 35 miles per hour by 5:00 PM on Saturday afternoon. Pressure is still quite high at 1014 millibars, or 29.95 inches.
Nevertheless, Tropical Depression Three is anticipated to intensify to a Tropical Storm either late Saturday night or on Sunday. Interests along the North Carolina coast should monitor the future progress of this depression. The forecast indicates that TD #3 will hover off the Carolinas until Monday afternoon as a tropical storm before heading to the Northeast as a hurricane by the middle of Tuesday afternoon, July 10th. Winds are forecast to peak at 75 miles per hour before beginning to weaken within 4 to 5 days.