CNN – The first Atlantic hurricane of the year reached major status briefly on Friday before weakening to a Category 2 storm about 810 miles east of the eastern Caribbean islands, the National Hurricane Center said.
Forecasters think Hurricane Danny will continue to weaken as it heads west, becoming a tropical storm before it nears the Leeward Islands.
“Vertical shear is expected to increase further during the next couple of days, which should allow drier air in the surrounding environment to penetrate into Danny’s circulation,” the center said in a forecast discussion.
Danny had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kilometers per hour) Friday night, the hurricane center said, citing measurements taken by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aircraft.
Danny is relatively tiny, forecasters say, with hurricane-force winds extending only 15 miles (24 km) from its center on Friday.
Danny on Tuesday became the first named storm of the Atlantic season — unusually, if not unexpectedly, late.
Forecasters had already said this year’s season would produce a below-normal number of Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, in part because of this year’s strong El Niño, which is causing strong wind shears in the Atlantic, hindering cyclone development.