Tropical Storm Philippe becomes 16th named storm of the 2023 Atlantic season
As accurately predicted by AccuWeather forecasters, Tropical Storm Philippe formed over the Atlantic on Saturday. It could strengthen into the next hurricane of the season, potentially approaching the Caribbean.
As the East Coast endured impacts from Ophelia, Tropical Storm Philippe took shape over the central Atlantic on Saturday evening. AccuWeather meteorologists say the system will continue to strengthen, perhaps becoming the next hurricane of the 2023 hurricane season as it churns over the basin.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) designated the system Tropical Depression 17 on Saturday morning, and it continued to pick up steam, becoming a named tropical storm at 5 p.m. EDT Saturday. It was located nearly 1,000 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands.
AccuWeather forecasters have been tracking the disturbance since before it emerged from Africa into the Atlantic, and they believe there's a high chance for further tropical development of this system.
Steering breezes will guide the system on a general westward to west-northwestward course into early next week.
"The system is most likely to pass just north of the Leeward Islands of the northeastern Caribbean around the middle or end of next week," AccuWeather Tropical Meteorologist Alex DaSilva said. This curving path would take the system over the central Atlantic by next weekend.
Such a path might even keep the storm east of Bermuda, similar to the track that former Hurricane Nigel followed this week.
That track accounts for the storm becoming stronger and growing higher into the atmosphere quickly while over the central Atlantic. Stronger steering breezes would push the system farther to the north in that setup.
If the system waits until it is over the Caribbean to become a strong tropical storm or hurricane, it could travel even farther to the west, AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.
This image of the west-central Atlantic shows Tropical Storm Philippe on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. (AccuWeather Enhanced RealVue™ Satellite)
In the latter scenario, a strengthening storm with a track farther to the west over the Caribbean would pose more concerns for the northern islands of the Caribbean and potentially a closer track to the United States with a greater risk of impacts early in October.
"That is only about a 10% chance right now, but things could change," Rayno said.
AccuWeather's tropical weather team will continue to monitor the system and other areas of concern that emerge in the Atlantic.
As of Saturday, 16 named tropical storms had developed during the official Atlantic hurricane season that spans June 1 to Nov. 30. Six of these storms went on to become hurricanes, and three strengthened into major hurricanes, which are at least Category 3 storms with sustained winds in excess of 111 mph. There was also one unnamed subtropical storm in January, the National Hurricane Center determined during a post-storm analysis.
The strongest hurricane so far this season was Hurricane Lee, which peaked at Category 5 strength with winds of 165 mph over the central Atlantic. Lee made landfall as a tropical wind and rainstorm in western Nova Scotia, Canada, late in the afternoon on Sept. 16, pounding portions of New England and Atlantic Canada with dangerous seas, heavy rain and damaging winds. At landfall, Lee was packing maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
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