Very early Wednesday morning, Humberto strengthened to become the first hurricane of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season.
In a year that forecasters said there would be a few more hurricanes than normal, Humberto on Wednesday fell just a few hours short of setting a record for the latest first hurricane to form in the Atlantic Ocean. Normally, three hurricanes would have formed in the area by this time in hurricane season.
The latest the first hurricane of the season formed was 2002’s Gustav on Sep. 11. Gustav was upgraded from a tropical storm to a minimal hurricane midday, shortly after 8:00 a.m. EDT.
Between 13 and 20 named storms and seven to 11 hurricanes were predicted. Humberto is the eighth named storm of the year and just the first hurricane.
For the Atlantic Ocean, a normal season would produce 12 named storms, including six hurricanes and three major ones.
Humberto, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, was about 310 miles west-northwest of the southernmost Cape Verde islands moving on a north-northwesterly path at 8 mph, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 5 a.m. advisory.
No watches or warnings were posted. A curve to the northwest and then the north is forecast this week, which will take Humberto over the open waters of the central Atlantic with no serious direst impact to mainland areas.
It’s expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm over the weekend.
Beyond Humberto, there are no strong candidates for hurricanes through the middle of September. However, there may be another tropical depression or storm over the next week to 10 days. Possible tropical depression/storm breeding areas include the western Caribbean, the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and the continued train of disturbances moving off of Africa.
While the season thus far has been tame compared to some years, many meteorologists concur that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is not over yet and will not sound the “all-clear” until the weather pattern suggests that.
Hurricanes are just as much of an autumn weather phenomena as well as a summer one. Hurricane season runs from Jun 1 to Nov. 30.
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