It took longer than usual, but the first hurricane of the season formed as Hurricane Danielle took shape in the Atlantic on Friday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
After forming into Tropical Storm Danielle on Thursday, the system quickly strengthened overnight.
As of the NHC’s 11 a.m. Friday advisory, Danielle was approximately 885 miles west of the Azores with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph heading west at 1 mph. The system is now a Category 1 hurricane, the fourth storm of the hurricane season and the first in nearly two months.
The hurricane-force winds extend for 15 miles with tropical gale force winds of 115 mph.
The NHC predicts it will reach sustained winds of 100 mph within two days, making it a Category 2 hurricane.
Deep in the mid-Atlantic, Danielle poses no threat to the country at this time and is predicted to “meander” in the coming days.
NOAA records show that statistically, the first hurricane usually appears on August 11.
Meteorologists are monitoring two more weather systems with the chance of turning tropical depressions or storms into tropical depressions or storms in the next two to five days, according to the 8:00 a.m. Friday forecast.
The first high probability system is a broad and elongated low pressure area several hundred kilometers east of the Leeward Islands. The system produces a large area of showers and thunderstorms that have increased since Thursday, although circulation remains broad.
“While environmental conditions remain only marginally favourable, any further development of the system in the coming days would lead to the formation of a tropical depression,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to survey the system this afternoon if necessary. It is expected to move slowly west-northwest towards the northern Leeward Islands, where it could cause heavy rainfall over the islands in the coming days.
The system has a 50% chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next two days and a 70% chance in the next five.
In addition, the NHC tracks a broad low pressure area northwest of the Cape Verde Islands. However, the chances of system development were lower on Thursday, although shower activity has increased overnight but remains ill-organized.
“This system is moving to an area with less favorable environmental conditions and no significant development is expected,” the NHC said.
The NHC gives it a 10% chance of forming in the next two to five days.
If one of the systems formed into a named tropical storm, it would become Tropical Storm Earl. After that, hurricane season names are Fiona and Gaston.
The 2022 hurricane season has had only three named storms and none since early July. If that sounds like hurricane season is slowing down, that’s because it is. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the fourth storm of the year usually comes on or before August 15. The first hurricane is usually seen on August 11.
But this season, the entire month of August went without a naming system. Despite the recent lull in the tropics, NOAA is still forecasting an above-average year with 14 to 21 named storms as of a forecast in early August. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the traditional peak of hurricane season from mid-August to mid-October.
The 2020 hurricane season set a record with 30 named systems, while the 2021 season was the third most active season with 21 named systems. An average year calls for 14 named storms.
Sentinel staff writer Joe Mario Pedersen contributed to this report.