16 September 2019

Hurricane Humberto eyeing Bermuda

Tropical Depression 9 formed near the northern Bahamas on Friday afternoon, and was quickly upgraded to Tropical Storm Humberto, the 8th named storm of the season.  On Monday it was upgraded further to Category 1 Hurricane Humberto, and could become the season's 2nd major hurricane on Tuesday as it heads for Bermuda.

Humberto's tropical storm force winds extend an average of 105 miles from the center, and it has a spectacular outflow channel to the north that reaches out past Newfoundland!  It's centered about 700 miles west of Bermuda and has 85mph peak sustained winds as of the 11am EDT advisory on Monday. Additional strengthening is forecast, and Bermuda could start seeing tropical storm force winds by Wednesday evening. The last few hurricanes to have passed within 100 miles of Bermuda were Joaquin (2015), Gonzalo (2014), and Fay (2014).  While the odds favor a hurricane's inner core not making a direct hit on a tiny island, it cannot be ruled out either.

It's worth pointing out that the skillful ECMWF ensemble has several members indicating that Humberto might not be too quick to race out to sea... a number of them slow it down, turn the hurricane back toward the west, and approach North Carolina in 5-6 days.  It's not a large probability, but something to be aware of.

Elsewhere, the basin is suspiciously quiet for mid-September, but there is a tropical wave centered about 1200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles that has a good shot at developing and becoming the next named storm: Imelda.  Over the next five days, both the GFS and ECMWF ensembles agree on this system moving toward the west-northwest and being located somewhere north of the Lesser Antilles this weekend.  Beyond that, the spread increases, but they still strongly favor a recurve to the north well before reaching and land -- with the exception of Bermuda, which is currently in the spread sometime next Monday-Tuesday.  Lots of time to watch and wait.

The Accumulated Cyclone Energy has remained right near average for the date, with Humberto's help.  It's at 102% of the average over the past 50 years, and should continue to keep up with climatology as long as Humberto is active.

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