After nearly two months since the last named storm, Tropical Storm Danielle formed Thursday morning in the mid-Atlantic, and the first hurricane of 2022 may soon follow, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 11 a.m., Danielle was about 960 miles west of the Azores with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph moving east-northeast at 2 mph. In the heart of the mid-Atlantic, Danielle is not a current threat to land and is expected to “tighten over the next few days”.
However, meteorologists expect Danielle to not only stick around but also become the first hurricane of the season by this weekend, reaching Category 1 wind strength.
Tropical storm force winds reach up to 35 miles from the center of Danielle.
Meteorologists are tracking two other weather systems with chances of becoming tropical depressions or storms in the next two to five days, according to the 2 p.m. Thursday outlook.
The first system with a strong chance is a broad and elongated low pressure area located several hundred kilometers east of the Leeward Islands. The system is producing a wide area of showers and disorganized thunderstorms although the system has reduced coverage, said NHC specialist Lisa Bucci. The system has a 50% chance of developing into a tropical depression or storm within the next two days and a 70% chance within the next five days.
From 2 p.m., the system is expected to move slowly west-northwestward towards adjacent waters north of the Leeward Islands.
The system’s development could pose a problem for NASA’s plans to launch its Artemis I rocket on Saturday. NASA officials noted that the system’s potential trajectory could pose a threat to a Saturday launch after Artemis missed its opportunity to lift off Monday from Kennedy Space Center due to a fuel leak. His next flight opportunities are during the Saturday and Monday windows.
Additionally, the NHC is tracking a large area of low pressure northeast of the Cabo Verde islands. However, the system had its lower chances of development on Thursday and shower activity declined. The NHC gives it a 20% chance of forming within the next two to five days.
The system could become a short-lived tropical depression within days before heading into an unfavorable environment.
If either system transitioned into a named tropical storm, it would become Tropical Storm Danielle. After that, the hurricane season names are Earl, Fiona, and Gaston. TD Five was not named TD Four due to a system the NHC tracked that was named the Potential Tropical Cyclone Four that brought rain to Mexico and Texas in mid-August but did not did not form into a system.
The 2022 hurricane season has seen only three named storms and none since early July. If that makes hurricane season seem like a slow move, that’s because it is. Typically, the fourth named storm of the year emerges no later than August 15, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The first hurricane is usually seen on August 11.
But this season went the whole month of August with no named system. Despite recent silence in the tropics, NOAA is still predicting an above-average year with 14 to 21 named storms in early August. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the traditional peak of hurricane season running from mid-August to mid-October.
The 2020 hurricane season set a record with 30 systems named, while the 2021 season was the third busiest with 21 systems named. An average year calls for 14 named storms.