The U.S. National Hurricane Center reported Thursday that Tropical Storm Danielle has formed in the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to become the first hurricane of what has been an unusually quiet storm season, but one that is predicted to become busier than average.
Forecasters at the hurricane center say that as Danielle hovers over an area of warmer-than-average ocean waters in the mid- to north Atlantic, atmospheric conditions are forecast to be favorable for it to strengthen into a hurricane in two days, and peak in intensity in about four days.
But they also forecast it will stay in the middle of the ocean until it weakens back into a tropical depression.
What makes the storm noteworthy is its status as the first hurricane of the season, the fourth named storm, and the first named storm since July 3. There were no named storms during the entire month of August.
The hurricane center reports it’s the first August in 25 years without a named storm. And Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach told The Associated Press it is the first time since 1941 the Atlantic has gone from July 3 until the end of August with no named storm.
In a separate interview, the head of Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute, Professor Gabriel Filippelli, told the AP two factors have contributed to the quiet season up to this point. First, exceptionally dry air masses in the Atlantic have stripped the atmosphere of the moisture needed for hurricanes and tropical storms to form. Second, there has been a fair amount of shear winds — horizontal winds — that break the structure of developing hurricanes so that they are unable to form.
Last month, even as it revised its seasonal forecast downward, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center said atmospheric and oceanic conditions favor an above-normal 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, with the peak months of September and October still ahead.
Filippelli told the AP it remains to be seen if September will see the quiet trend continue or if the hurricane season will pick up steam.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press.