September 17 (WNN) — Forecasters are monitoring two hurricane systems in the Atlantic basin — and potentially a third — that could eventually take aim as a tropical storm or hurricane in the United States in the near future.
One storm, designated by the National Hurricane Center as 96L, formed just off the US mid-Atlantic coast — and another, 95L, formed off the west coast of Africa earlier this week. Both have trajectories that could affect the US mainland.
NHC said on Friday that there is a 70% chance that 96L will become a tropical system in the next two days, and 70% that 95L will do so over the next five days.
Both potential systems are in the basin just days after Hurricane Nicholas made landfall in Texas this week and Hurricane Ida landed in the Gulf Coast a few weeks ago. Ida moved across the eastern United States and eventually caused severe flooding in the Northeast that killed dozens.
System 96L, off the North Carolina coast
NHC said Friday, “Environmental conditions are becoming more favorable for development, and are likely to become a tropical depression in the next day or so, while the system moves north-northeastward toward the southeast and mid-Atlantic US.” moves beyond the shores.” The system is hidden just off North Carolina.
“This system could bring higher surf to parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic US coasts through this weekend.”
System 96L is seen off the mid-Atlantic US coast early Friday. Image courtesy NOAA/NHC
The system struggled a bit to put its act together on Thursday due to disruptive northerly winds and surrounding dry air, but there are other factors that favor strengthening.
Meteorologists expect that while the center of the system will remain in the mid-Atlantic and offshore New England regions, enough circulation will develop to move the winds and create waves that spread outward from the center of the storm on Saturday.
The system could eventually make landfall somewhere in the mid-Atlantic or northeast, or miss both.
If it turns into a named storm, the next names on the list are Odette and Peter.
System 95L, near Cabo Verde Islands off Africa
The other system, which is still near the African coast, could turn into a tropical depression later this week, the hurricane center said.
“This system is expected to move west to west-northwest at 15 to 20 mph across the tropical Atlantic during the next several days.”
A difference of a few hundred miles in the track, while it runs over the mid- and west-central Atlantic, may have determined that 95L, as a designated system, would affect the US East Coast.
“The disturbance is tracking rapidly across the mid-Atlantic, and this likely explains why the system has not yet developed a well-defined low-level circulation,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Randy Adkins.
System 95L, center-right, is seen off the west coast of Africa near the Cabo Verde Islands early Friday. Image courtesy NOAA/NHC
Even if the system remains poorly organized, locally drenching rain and thunderstorms could spread westward across the Leeward Islands starting later this week. It may pass close to the islands early next week.
A large southward dip in the jet stream could create moderately strong westerly and westerly winds near the east coast of the United States later next week. If this happens and the system takes a path well north of the Leeward Islands, it could be diverted north into the middle of the Atlantic and miss the United States entirely.
If the system takes a more southerly route later this week and early next week, it could move west near the islands of the northern Caribbean, Florida and possibly the Gulf of Mexico.
There is also a third disturbance – off the coast of West Africa – but the NHC projects just 20% if a tropical system could form in the next five days. If, however, it did develop, it could pose a threat to the United States as well.
So far, there have been 14 named storms in the Atlantic basin in 2021. Six have turned into hurricanes and three have become major hurricanes with a Category 3 or greater strength. Eight systems have affected the United States.
AccuWeather projects 20-25 named storms, with 10 hurricanes and five to seven major hurricanes, by the end of the hurricane season on November 30. Forecasters say one or two more systems could have a direct impact on the United States.
Storms named Anna, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henry, Ida, Kate, Julian, Larry, Mindy and Nicholas have been named so far this year. Elsa, Grace, Henry, Ida and Nicholas become stormtroopers.
Next on the list are Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.