Michael, the 13th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, became the first major hurricane of the season early Thursday morning as it moved northeastward in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Rapid intensification from a tropical storm to a Category 3 storm occurred in less than 12 hours as Michael entered a very favorable environment.
As of 5:00 p.m. EDT Thursday, Michael had become slightly weaker and was downgraded to a Category 2 storm. Michael should remain a Category 2 storm into Saturday, before possible weakening into a Category 1 storm occurs later Saturday night or Sunday, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Satellite loop of Michael from NOAA.
"As Leslie intensifies and becomes larger, it should influence the northward movement of Michael early next week. This will also exert increased shear over the storm [Michael], causing it weaken," Kottlowski stated.
Michael's path will also be over colder water, another factor that will favor weakening.
Michael will continue to stay away from any land mass during the next several days.
Besides Michael and Leslie, which is predicted to impact Bermuda and then Atlantic Canada, there is an area of thunderstorms associated with a piece of Isaac in the northern Gulf and another wave in the eastern Atlantic that will require watching in the coming days.
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A tropical threat from the Atlantic on the United States and Caribbean islands may increase into next week.
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