30 August 2015

Tropical Storm Fred forms just off African coast

Early Sunday morning, Tropical Storm Fred formed from an easterly wave almost immediately after exiting the African coast.  In fact, the Cape Verde Islands have a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch.. an extremely rare event.

Fred is the second farthest east tropical storm formation in the records (back to 1851).  If we look at all known tropical cyclones (which includes Depressions) that formed east of 19°W, there have only been 20.  Fred was named at 18.4°W (in the best-track), and the only one further east was Ginger 1967 at 18.1°W.  Note that two Florida landfalling storms had their origins this far east: Dora 1964 (Category 3 landfall near St. Augustine) and the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane (Category 4 landfall near West Palm Beach).  Just for reference, the travel time from the coast of Africa to south Florida is approximately 10-12 days for an average easterly wave.

Tracks of all known tropical cyclones that formed east of 19W.  Of the 20 on this map, only three went on to become hurricanes, and two of those became major hurricanes.
While dry air ahead of it could limit the long-term intensity, it is forecast to become a strong tropical storm, and could easily reach hurricane status in the next couple of days as it heads west-northwest.  It will pass over the Cape Verde Islands on Monday.

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