Tropical Storm Nigel is expected to become a hurricane as soon as Monday, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday, and could be the latest tropical storm in the Atlantic this season to rapidly intensify to major hurricane status—following Hurricane Lee, which brought heavy rain and coastal flooding to parts of eastern Canada and Maine over the weekend.
The National Hurricane Center is warning that Tropical Storm Nigel—the latest named storm of this hurricane season—is expected to continue strengthening over the next 48 hours, after developing into a tropical storm late Saturday night.
As of 5 a.m. Sunday, the NHC estimated the storm had maximum sustained winds near 50 mph; hurricanes have wind speeds of at least 74 mph, and in order to become a major hurricane, winds must reach 111 mph.
The storm is currently about 980 miles from the Lesser Antilles, and about 1,180 miles from Bermuda.
Nigel formed as a tropical depression on Friday, at which time forecasters called for the storm to be at least a Category 3 hurricane by Tuesday, though the NHC said that “forecast could be conservative.”
In Sunday morning’s update, NHC said it still expects rapid intensification over the next two to three days and it expects Nigel to peak as a Category 3 hurricane.
Hurricane Lee was the latest major hurricane in the Atlantic, reaching Category 5 at its peak, though by the time it hit Maine and eastern Canada it had been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. The storm caused more than 93,000 homes and businesses to be without power in Maine on Saturday afternoon, and there were still more than 41,000 without power on Sunday, according to Poweroutage.us.
What To Watch For
Where Nigel could make landfall, if at all. The system’s path is still largely unknown, with the Hurricane Center’s Sunday update saying it was “moving toward the north-northwest” at around 14 mph and is expected to continue moving that way toward Bermuda. The current expected path doesn’t show any landfall.
14. That’s how many named storms there have been this Atlantic hurricane season, including five hurricanes and nine tropical storms. A typical year sees 14 named storms, seven of which develop into hurricanes, according to the NHC. The season began on June 1 and continues through November 30, though the peak is usually around September 10.