Distant Hurricane Earl hands Florida rough surf as NHC tracks new system

Hurricane Earl is nearing its final stage as a tropical system, but strong swells are a threat to the east coast of Florida.

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, the National Hurricane Center places Earl’s center about 260 miles south of Newfoundland in Cape Race, Canada, with sustained winds of 90 mph, down from 105 mph previously on Saturday. The system is moving toward the north-northeast at 29 mph and is expected to move to an additional tropical low by Saturday afternoon.

Although there is no tropical warning in place, the system is expected to bring strong winds to parts of Newfoundland through Sunday.

“A significant decrease in forward speed is expected tonight, with Earl moving slowly toward the northeast toward the southeast of Newfoundland,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Robbie Berg. “Weakening is expected during the next few days, and Earl’s winds are likely to fall below hurricane force tonight or early Sunday.”

The wind field for the system is increasing, now with hurricane-force winds extending up to 90 miles from its center and tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 415 miles.

NHC said swelling for the system at large has already affected Bermuda and will continue to pound parts of the US East Coast, including Florida, over the next several days.

“These swells have the potential to be life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” Berg said. The National Weather Service continues to warn against the high risk of rip currents.

On Thursday, Volusia County Beach Safety said in a press release that they responded to an incident near the Main Street Pier in Daytona Beach, where a man in his 60s was caught in a rip current. He was pulled from the water without a pulse, but rescue workers performed CPR and was taken to the hospital after the pulse returned. Two more rescues were conducted on Friday.

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As Earl moves away, NHC has its eye on another system that is set to form off the coast of Africa in the tropical Atlantic after the weekend.

According to the NHC’s tropical outlook for 8 a.m., forecasters expect a tropical wave to move off the coast of the continent on Monday.

“A gradual development of the wave will be possible during the early to central part of next week while it moves west or west-northwest across the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean,” the NHC said.

Forecasters give it a 30% chance of tropical formation over the next five days.

After two months of relatively calm tropical activity, this past week saw the formation of the first two storms of the season, with Hurricane Daniel also breaking out during the week. The NHC also had an eye on a number of systems in the tropical Atlantic that did not end.

The increased activity coincides with the statistical peak of the hurricane season – September 10 – which was originally estimated to be an above-average tropical year. The Atlantic hurricane season came in 2020 after two record-churning years with 30 named storms, followed by 21 hurricanes in 2021.

Prior to Hurricane Danielle, however, the season had produced only three named tropical storms, with Tropical Storm Colin’s last advisory coming on July 3. What is known as the Saharan Dust Layer helped to contain tropical activity for most of the summer, with zero tropism being observed for the first time in August. system since 1997. The system that developed into Hurricane Danielle formed on September 1.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 1. 30.

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