(ORLANDO SENTINEL) — Tropical Storm Kirk was packing maximum sustained winds of 40 mph on Sunday and moving at a rapid pace, and Subtropical Storm Leslie became our 12th named storm, way out in the Atlantic. But forecasters are also keeping an eye on an area of disturbed weather between the Bahamas and Bermuda that could move toward the U.S. east coast later this week.
The first Sunday of autumn is busy in the Tropics.
In its 11 a.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Kirk was located about 545 miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands and moving west at a quick 21-mph clip. Its tropical storm-force winds extend 70 miles from its center, forecasters said.
The storm — already moving very fast — is expected to gain even more speed in the next day or two, possibly reaching 25 mph in forward motion, the hurricane center said.
“Low- to mid-level ridging over the eastern Atlantic is expected to cause Kirk to move even faster toward the west during the next couple of days, reaching speeds of at least 22 kt in 24-36 hours,” forecasters said. “A reduction in speed is likely after 48 hours once Kirk moves south of a large central Atlantic trough, but it should still be moving along at a pretty good clip.”
It’s difficult for a storm moving so fast to strengthen but forecasters think that might be possible for Kirk, albeit for a short time.
“Kirk will be moving over increasingly warmer waters and through a relatively low-shear environment for the next 2-3 days, which should allow for some strengthening,” the hurricane center said. “The biggest limiting factors for intensification would be the cyclone’s fast motion and possible entrainment of dry air.”
Forecasters aren’t sure what will happen to Kirk after 4-5 days, with some theorizing that the storm could dissipate before moving into the eastern Caribbean.
“Like every other tropical cyclone which has approached the Lesser Antilles from the east this season, Kirk is expected to run into strong westerly shear in 4-5 days, resulting in weakening as the cyclone gets closer to the islands,” forecasters said. “It is possible that Kirk may open up into a trough as it is approaching the Lesser Antilles and moving into the eastern Caribbean Sea, but for now the official forecast maintains Kirk as a tropical storm through day 5.”
Subtropical Storm Leslie formed Sunday, the hurricane center said, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. It was lcoated about 1145 miles west-southwest of the Azores and moving west at 3 mph.
The storm is not expected to last long or impact land.
“Leslie is embedded within very light steering currents, and most likely the cyclone will be meandering today and tomorrow. After that time, with the development of the new low to the north, Leslie will likely move east until it becomes absorbed,” forecasters said.
Elsewhere, the area of disturbed weather located between Bermuda and the Bahamas that should move by the southeastern U.S. coast has a 30 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm in the next five days, the hurricane center said.
That system is currently producing limited showers and thunderstorms, but could see some development.
“The strong upper-level winds currently affecting the system are expected to diminish, and this could favor some development during the next couple of days,” forecasters said. “The low is forecast to move westward and west-northwestward at about 10 mph over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean and by Tuesday or Wednesday, upper-level winds are forecast to strengthen again, likely limiting the development.
Also in the Caribbean, Tropical Depression 11 — which was actually located closer to us than Kirk, about 145 miles east-north east of the Windward Islands — has dissipated, the hurricane center said. It has maximum sustained winds of 25 mph and is moving west at 12 mph.