Quite the scene in the Atlantic now. Two tropical storms and a major hurricane are now spinning in the ocean. Former hurricane and current Tropical Storm Danielle continues to push off to the northeast, away from any landmasses. Near the Caribbean, Hurricane Earl is quickly intensifying and threatening to brush along the east coast of the US this week, or worse, make landfall.
And now there’s Tropical Storm Fiona, well out at sea but a tropical storm nonetheless. Right now winds are pretty weak but the low is holding its circulation. The good news with Fiona is right now it’s not expected to gain much strength this week. There are no indications the storm will reach hurricane status anytime soon, or that it would affect land.
That’s the good news, the bad news is Earl remains a threat and something to keep very close watch of this week. Hurricane hunters that flew through the storm report sustained winds of up to 135mph, making Earl a category 4 hurricane. That’s the second highest level on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Earl is still projected to turn more towards the northwest, and eventually east and back out to sea. But the longer it takes the storm to make that turn the greater the chances are it could make landfall somewhere along the east coast. Anyone from the Carolinas all the way up to Maine need to keep watch of this storm. Even without a direct landfall, at its current strength it would cause considerable damage and flooding if it delivered a glancing blow to a certain area.
The threat of tropical storm force winds affecting the northeast coast have increased slightly as the new forecasted track brings the storm further west. Shorelines from New York City to Massachusetts now face a 20%-40% risk of experiencing tropical storm force winds later this week.
Any problems along the east coast are still a few days away. That gives these areas plenty of time to prepare. It’s difficult to really trust the forecasted track of a hurricane more than 48 or 60 hours into the future. As we reported before, the National Hurricane Center warns their forecast 4 to 5 days in the future can be off as much as 200 or 300 miles. That would make a world of difference for people living along the east coast.
So for now we can just watch and wait. We’ll continue to give you updates on the storms as it inches closer to the eastern seaboard.