After strengthening into Tropical Storm Danielle on Thursday, the system quickly strengthened overnight, with the National Hurricane Center expecting it to become Hurricane Danielle this morning, the first hurricane of 2022.
At the time of the NHC advisory at 5 a.m. Friday, Danielle was located about 890 miles west of the Azores with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph shifting east at 3 mph. The system is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane later Friday morning. The fourth named storm of the hurricane season, it’s the first in nearly two months.
In the heart of the mid-Atlantic, Danielle is not a current threat to land and is expected to “tighten over the next few days”.
Tropical storm force winds reach up to 70 miles from the center of Danielle.
Meteorologists are tracking two other weather systems with chances of becoming tropical depressions or storms in the next two to five days, according to the 8 a.m. Friday forecast.
The first system with a strong chance is a broad and elongated low pressure area located several hundred kilometers east of the Leeward Islands. The system is producing a broad area of showers and thunderstorms that have increased since Thursday, although the circulation remains broad.
“Although environmental conditions remain only marginally favorable, any further development of the system over the next few days would lead to the development of a tropical depression,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system this afternoon if necessary. It is expected to move slowly west-northwest towards the northern Leeward Islands where it could produce heavy rain over the islands over the next couple of days.
The system has a 50% chance of developing into a tropical depression or storm within the next two days and a 70% chance within the next five days.
Additionally, the NHC is tracking a large area of low pressure northwest of the Cabo Verde islands. However, the system had its lower chances of development on Thursday, although shower activity increased overnight but remains poorly organized.
“This system is evolving in an area where environmental conditions are less favorable and no significant development is expected,” the NHC said.
The NHC gives it a 10% chance of forming within the next two to five days.
If either system transitioned into a named tropical storm, it would become Tropical Storm Earl. After that, the hurricane season names are Fiona and Gaston.
The 2022 hurricane season has seen only three named storms and none since early July. If that makes hurricane season seem like a slow move, that’s because it is. Typically, the fourth named storm of the year emerges no later than August 15, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The first hurricane is usually seen on August 11.
But this season went the whole month of August with no named system. Despite recent silence in the tropics, NOAA is still predicting an above-average year with 14 to 21 named storms in early August. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the traditional peak of hurricane season running from mid-August to mid-October.
The 2020 hurricane season set a record with 30 systems named, while the 2021 season was the third busiest with 21 systems named. An average year calls for 14 named storms.
Sentinel writer Joe Mario Pedersen contributed to this report.