Hurricane Nigel is swirling in the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to become a major storm
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The busy 2023 Atlantic hurricane season shows no signs of stopping.
Far out in the open Atlantic Ocean, about 1,600 miles off the East Coast, Hurricane Nigel continued to strengthen on Monday. It is the fifth hurricane of the season and is expected to reach major hurricane status on Tuesday. Fortunately, the hurricane’s projected path shows it bending seaward long before it approaches the shores of the United States.
Although Nigel was the only active storm on Monday, the National Hurricane Center was cautiously monitoring two other systems developing in the Atlantic Ocean, including one near the coast of the southeastern United States.
Where is Cyclone Nigel located?
As of Monday morning, the center of Hurricane Nigel was located 875 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and was moving to the northwest at 12 mph, the hurricane center said. It had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, making it a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Intensity Scale.
“Nigel is expected to rapidly strengthen into a major hurricane on Tuesday,” the Hurricane Center said. A major hurricane is a Category 3, 4, or 5 storm, which packs winds of at least 111 mph.
“A gradual weakening trend may begin Wednesday,” the Hurricane Center said.
Nigel is moving toward the northwest at about 12 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days. Nigel is expected to turn north late Tuesday and then accelerate northeastward and out to sea during the rest of the week.
The forecast path of Cyclone Nigel
Special note about the NHC cone: The forecast track shows the most likely path of the storm’s center. It does not show the full width of the storm or its effects, and the center of the storm is likely to move outside the cone up to 33% of the time.
Spaghetti models of Hurricane Nigel
Special note about spaghetti models: Illustrations involve a range of forecasting tools and models, and not all of them are created equal. The Hurricane Center uses only the four or five top-performing models to help make its forecasts.
What about the system near the southeast coast?
“A non-tropical low pressure area is expected to form near the southeastern coast of the United States late this week,” the hurricane center said. “This system could gain some subtropical characteristics this weekend if it stays offshore while slowly moving toward the north or northwest.”
Meteorologist Jeff Masters of Yale Climate Connections wrote Monday that “regardless of development, the system will likely bring heavy rain to the coast; NOAA’s forecast calls for 2 to 5 inches of rain along the coast from northern Florida to Virginia by “Next Monday. Coastal flooding caused by a prolonged period of strong onshore winds will also be a concern.”
Winds of 30 to 40 mph are likely, along with 5- to 8-foot breakers. Residents can see dangerous seas, tidal flooding and beach erosion.
A tropical wave is about to emerge from Africa
Meteorologists said a tropical wave is expected to move off the west coast of Africa by Wednesday.
“Environmental conditions are expected to be favorable for gradual wave development thereafter, and a tropical depression will likely form late this week or this weekend as the system moves westward across the eastern and central tropical Atlantic,” the Hurricane Center said.
“Initial indicators indicate that this wave will take a path far enough to the northwest to avoid the Caribbean islands, but it is too early to trust these forecasts,” Masters said on Monday.
Contributing: Cheryl McCloud, USA TODAY Network – Florida