First of all, we now have Tropical Storm Vicky out in the eastern Atlantic. This is now our 20th named storm of the season and the earliest we have ever had the 20th storm in any season. Vicky will meander out in the eastern Atlantic for several days and should weaken back into a depression by Wednesday. We now have only one name left before we have to resort to the Greek alphabet.
We now have four named storms at once, which is only the 7th time this has happened since records began being kept. A historical season, for sure. If a fifth storm is named before Sally makes landfall, that will be the first time we have had five named storms at once in the Atlantic/Gulf basins.
All eyes are on Sally for now. She is now showing signs of strengthening and will likely become a hurricane today. Winds are still at 65 mph but the pressure is dropping, indicating that the storm is strengthening. Sally is now over very warm waters and within an atmosphere that features low wind shear. This a combination of factors that favors a strengthening storm. Sally is expected to become a high-end cat 1 hurricane at landfall, with winds of 90-95 mph. Keep in mind, the flooding is Sally’s greatest threat (as is true with most tropical systems). Due to the storm’s slow movement, over a foot of rain will fall in many locations near the landfall. Some places may get closer to two feet of rain! To make matters worse, the slow movement will also make storm surge worse, that inland push of water from the sea by the hurricane’s onshore winds.
For reference, here is the wind scale for hurricanes. Hopefully, someday soon we’ll have a flood scale to talk about, especially since water is the most damaging aspect of a hurricane.
Thankfully, we do have storm surge forecasts now. This is the current forecast for Sally. That’s a lot of water to come inland.
In other tropical news….
Hurricane Paulette has now strengthened into a cat 2 hurricane, with winds of 100 mph. The storm has now moved north of Bermuda and looks rather impressive on satellite. The storm will continue to improve its appearance on satellite and should form a distinct eye as we go through the day. Bermuda is the black speck of islands on the south side of the storm. Paulette will now move out to sea and simple be a storm to be admired on satellite.
I’m not even sure the tropics could get more active that this! I suppose we could fit one more in the Caribbean? There’s so much to watch! I’ll be doing just that and keeping you posted!