Sunday, October 24, 2021

Tropical storm bill forms on east coast

Tropical Storm Bill, which is hundreds of miles off the coast of North Carolina, was upgraded late Monday night from a tropical depression and becomes the second storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center said.

The weather system is expected to stay off the coast, and is predicted to be short-lived.

Monday at 11 p.m., the Tropical Storm Bill was about 500 km northeast of Cape Hatteras, NC, with a maximum sustained wind of 45 km per hour, said the hurricane center.

A Category 1 hurricane has wind speed starting at 74 miles per hour.

Although there were no coastguards or warnings in force, the storm was moving northeast at 23 miles per hour and was expected to continue on Wednesday with increasing forward speed on this track, the Hurricane Center said.

An additional boost was possible for Tuesday, but the storm was expected to become a post-tropical low on Wednesday.

Meteorologists also witnessed a weather disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico. It brought showers and thunderstorms across Campeche Bay, just west of the Yucatán Peninsula. The system was expected to move northward by the end of the week, possibly forming a tropical depression and bringing heavy rains to the northern Gulf Coast.

A second disturbance, described as a tropical wave, has been reported hundreds of miles south of the Cabo Verde Islands.

In late May, the Atlantic Ocean recorded its first storm of the hurricane season. Ana, a subtropical storm, developed northeast of Bermuda. It was the seventh year in a row that a storm developed in the Atlantic Ocean before the official start of the season on June 1st.

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Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted this year that there will be 13 to 20 named storms, of which there will be six to ten hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes of category 3 or higher in the Atlantic Ocean.

Last year, 30 named storms occurred, including six major hurricanes, forcing meteorologists to deplete the alphabet for the second time and use Greek letters. This was the highest number of storms recorded, surpassing the 28 of 2005, and included the second highest number of hurricanes recorded.

Hurricanes became more and more dangerous and destructive with each passing season. Climate change is producing stronger storms with heavier rainfall. The storms also tend to get lost and meander. A combination of rising seas and slower storms also causes higher and more devastating storm surges.

This hurricane season comes because resources are already thin. Federal Emergency Management Agency workers have been dealing with the migrant crisis along the border with Mexico, and coronavirus vaccination sites in several states are still managing and repairing a series of record disasters beginning with Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Last month, about 4,000 of the more than 13,000 emergency service workers from the agency were available to respond to a new disaster, 29 percent less than were ready to use at the start of the hurricane period.

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