Newly-formed Tropical Storm Edouard makes history in Atlantic basin
Tropical Storm Edouard formed over the holiday weekend, but Bernie Rayno says another area closer to the U.S. bears watching for development.
Tropical Storm Edouard made history when it formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday night well away from land. Edouard is now the earliest fifth-named storm on record since the satellite era of the 1960s and 1970s.
As of Monday morning, Edouard is located over 500 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada, and is tracking northeast at a brisk pace of 36 mph. Edouard now has maximum sustained winds 40 mph, making it a low-end tropical storm.
The storm that would become Edouard, Tropical Depression Five, formed a few hundred miles southwest of Bermuda at midday Saturday.
Tropical Depression 5 passed to the north and west of Bermuda early Sunday morning, before strengthening into Tropical Storm Edouard Sunday evening.
Rain and wind have died down across Bermuda as Edouard is now well to the northeast of the islands.
"The system will move over colder ocean waters overnight Sunday, allowing the storm to lose its tropical characteristics," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said. "By Monday, the storm is expected to become a post-tropical storm as it moves over the northern Atlantic Ocean."
"The feature is not a threat to the U.S. and Canada as steering winds are taking the feature away from North America," Miller said.
The feature is forecast to pass over Ireland later this week as a tropical rainstorm with gusty winds.
The depression that became Edouard formed in a broad area of lower atmospheric pressure, moisture and low wind shear relative to much of the Atlantic basin and has caught AccuWeather meteorologists' eyes in the past couple of weeks.
Wind shear is the change in the flow of air at different layers of the atmosphere and over the horizontal area just above the sea surface. Strong wind shear can lead to the demise of established hurricanes and tropical storms and prevent the development of tropical systems in general.
Large tracts of dry air, dust and wind shear have been present over much of the tropical Atlantic basin in recent weeks and are likely to continue through much of July. But, this area along and just off the southeastern coast of the United States is a patch where there is some moisture and somewhat lower wind shear.
This image taken on Saturday, July 4, 2020, shows large areas of Saharan Desert dust and dry air as yellow, orange and red colors. (NOAA/GOES-East)
The same general area along and off the Southeast U.S. coast, which includes the northern Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic waters, could allow a similar feature to crop up during the middle and latter part of this week.
The previous earliest fifth-named tropical storm on record since the satellite era of the 1960s and 1970s was Emily from the blockbuster 2005 hurricane season. Emily became a named storm on July 12 and went on to become a powerful and deadly Category 5 hurricane that tracked through the Caribbean.
The 2005 season brought a record number of tropical cyclones, 31, with 27 named tropical storms and 15 hurricanes. Seven of the storms strengthened into major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale.
Category 3 storms produce maximum sustained winds of 111 mph and up to 129 mph (Category 4 storms have wind speeds of 130-156 mph, and Category 5 storms have wind speeds of 157 mph or higher).
The next names on the list for the 2020 Atlantic season are Fay, Gonzalo and Hanna.
The earliest sixth-named tropical storm on record in the Atlantic is Franklin, which also came to life during the 2005 season. Franklin formed on July 21, near the central Bahamas, and traveled northeastward, well to the east of the U.S. coast. Franklin did not reach hurricane strength.
Should none of the aforementioned features bud into a tropical system, it is not uncommon for there to be a lull in tropical activity during July and early August after an active spring.
This is due to the usual presence of dry air, dust and wind shear over the equatorial part of the Atlantic basin and a lack of non-tropical systems dipping southward from North America which could evolve into a tropical system.
Conditions typically ramp up during late August and September as the strength of disturbances moving westward off Africa, called tropical waves, tends to peak, combined with water temperatures climbing to peak values for the year.
AccuWeather is projecting a busy season ahead with 14-20 named tropical storms with seven to 11 hurricanes and four to six major hurricanes. With Edouard, five tropical storms are already in the books for the season, with one U.S. landfall.
Cristobal became the earliest "C" named storm in recorded history for the Atlantic on June 2, a feat that typically does not occur until around the middle of August. The storm went on to crash ashore along the U.S. Gulf Coast, where it unleashed flooding. Dolly was the second-earliest "D" named storm ever in the basin, but it moved out to sea without impacting land.
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