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Tropical Storm Franklin could head towards Bermuda

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The potential path of Tropical Storm Franklin as of noon on Tuesday (Image from the National Hurricane Centre)

Advanced forecasts have suggested a tropical storm could approach the island as soon as this weekend as storm activity builds in the Atlantic.

This afternoon, the US National Hurricane Centre was monitoring several systems, including Tropical Storm Franklin and Tropical Storm Harold, the eighth named storm of the 2023 season.

While Harold made landfall in southern Texas earlier today, Tropical Storm Franklin is expected to drift towards the island over the coming days after passing over Hispaniola.

As of noon, the storm was still around 220 miles south-southwest of the Dominican Republic and travelling northwest at 7mph.

“A turn toward the north is expected later today, followed by a turn toward the northeast by Thursday,” the NHC said. “On the forecast track, the centre of Franklin is expected to approach the southern coast of Hispaniola today, cross the island on Wednesday, and then emerge over the southwestern Atlantic waters late Wednesday.

“Maximum sustained winds are near 50mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast before Franklin reaches Hispaniola. Some weakening is likely while the storm moves across Hispaniola.

“Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the centre.

After passing over Hispaniola, the system is forecast to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane by Sunday morning and continue north, closer to Bermuda.

The Bermuda Weather Service said yesterday that the system was not considered a threat to the island as its estimated closest point of approach in the next three days was forecast to be 628 miles to the island’s south at noon on Friday.

However, the BWS noted that the storm could come closer to the island after that time depending on its track.

Most likely arrival times of tropical storm force winds from Tropical Storm Franklin as of noon on Tuesday (Image from the National Hurricane Centre)

The system is one of several being monitored in the Atlantic this week.

Tropical Depression Nine formally strengthened to become Tropical Storm Harold earlier today as it made its final approach to Texas bringing stormy conditions and heavy rain.

Meanwhile, meteorologists are monitoring a thunderstorm system in the eastern Atlantic, which could develop in the coming days.

The NHC estimated there was a 20 per cent chance the system would become a tropical depression by Thursday afternoon and a 50 per cent chance the system would turn tropical in the next week.

On Sunday, the NHC marked the formation of Tropical Storm Emily, which petered out into a post-tropical cyclone yesterday.

However meteorologist continue to monitor the area, noting the system had a 20 per cent chance of strengthening again in the next week.

The 2023 Hurricane Season has been forecast to be busier than usual as warmer than normal water temperatures offset El Niño, a weather phenomenon known to limit hurricane development in the Atlantic.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that the season could include 14 to 21 named storms, of which between six and 11 could reach hurricane strength.

Of those storms, it is estimated two to five could become major hurricanes reaching at least Category 3 strength with winds of 111mph or greater.

The seven-day tropical weather outlook as of noon on Tuesday (Image from the National Hurricane Centre)

Forecasters have said that this year’s hurricane season would be busier than usual as warmer water surface temperatures counteract El Niño conditions, which usually deter storm growth in the Atlantic.

In the Pacific, the US West Coast was yesterday preparing for an unusual landfall as Hurricane Hilary struck southern California.

Hilary was the first tropical storm since 1997’s Nora to make landfall in California and was the first ever tropical storm to move into Nevada.

The Bermuda public has been urged to make sure homes are prepared as the hurricane season picks up.

Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, said preparedness was the key to safeguarding Bermuda and its people.

“As we rapidly approach what is historically the most active part of hurricane season for Bermuda, now is the time for proper planning and preparation by everyone to ensure our homes are secure, our supplies are stocked, and we are attentive to the EMO's guidance,” Mr Weeks said.

“Our island's resilience depends on our collective readiness and we kindly urge everyone to take the necessary precautions. I urge residents to not only ensure their own preparedness but also to extend a caring hand to our vulnerable and elderly community members.

“As we fortify our homes and keep an eye on supplies, let us remember the importance of unity and support, checking in on those who might need assistance and offering a helping hand.”

The public is urged to inventory hurricane supplies, secure loose items and trim trees.

The public should also pay attention to guidance given by the Emergency Measures Organisation when storms approach the island.

More information about hurricane preparedness can be found at gov.bm.

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Published August 22, 2023 at 7:55 am (Updated August 22, 2023 at 2:47 pm)

Tropical Storm Franklin could head towards Bermuda

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