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After a slow start, hurricane season intensifies

A hurricane, a tropical storm and two tropical depressions being monitored on Friday afternoon, along with an area of potential tropical development. (Image from the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

After a slow start, the 2022 hurricane season has accelerated with several systems being monitored by meteorologists.

A series of preseason and midseason forecasts warned that the season was expected to be busier than average.

In August, a midseason forecast by the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that the season could include between 14 and 20 named storms, including six to ten hurricanes.

However the season had an unusually slow start with only three named storms by the end of August – the slowest start to a season in 30 years.

Only one of the early storms, Tropical Storm Alex, approached the island, passing west of the island on June 5.

That changed rapidly this month with the formation of hurricanes Danielle and Earl on September 1 and 3 respectively.

Danielle – the first hurricane of the year – petered out in the eastern Atlantic, while Hurricane Earl became the second storm of the year to approach the island.

While Earl was initially forecast to reach Category 4 strength, conditions for the storm became less favourable as it approached the island, causing it to fluctuate between a Category 1 and Category 2 system.

Hurricane Earl passed to the east of Bermuda early on September 9, bringing rain and tropical storm force winds but no notable damage.

Hurricane Fiona became the fifth named storm of the year on September 15 and a hurricane three days later shortly before making landfall in Puerto Rico, where it caused heavy flooding and left millions without power.

The storm has been blamed for at least six deaths, including four in Puerto Rico, one in Guadeloupe and one in the Dominican Republic.

As of yesterday afternoon, Fiona was still a Category 3 hurricane and was expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia.

Since the formation of Fiona, a seventh tropical storm, Gaston, formed in the North Atlantic and was expected to bring rough weather to the Azores.

Meteorologists are also monitoring two tropical depressions.

Tropical Depression Nine, located 515 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, was expected to become a tropical storm by this morning and could strike the Cayman Islands as a hurricane on Monday. Its projected track then takes it over Cuba and towards Florida.

Tropical Depression Ten meanwhile is located 305 miles off the Cabo Verde Islands and is forecast to briefly become a tropical storm before weakening again later this weekend.

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Published September 24, 2022 at 7:52 am (Updated September 24, 2022 at 7:52 am)

After a slow start, hurricane season intensifies

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