Tropical Storm Larry, the 12th named storm of the season, is forecast to be a major hurricane late Thursday or Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Larry’s top winds are estimated to be at hurricane strength Thursday night at 85 mph, rising rapidly to 120 mph, forecasters said. Category 1 hurricanes form when winds reach at least 74 mph. Major hurricanes are those with winds of at least 111 mph.
The number of expected major hurricanes this season is three to five, according to the forecast from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
The season’s pace is running “well above average,” according to AccuWeather. “Typically, the 12th named system and second major hurricane does not occur for another five weeks, or in early October.”
Larry formed overnight Tuesday into Wednesday from a tropical wave in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. It’s coalescing in an area where storms tend to form as the hurricane season during peak season, which runs mid-August through October.
Located less than 200 miles off the west coast of Africa early Wednesday, Larry was moving west at 17 mph with top winds of 45 mph as of 8 a.m. Its tropical-storm-force winds extend out up to 60 miles from its center.
It’s likely to move west to west-northwest over the central Atlantic before turning northwest this weekend. Forecasters say that conditions support rapid development.
If Larry becomes a major hurricane, it would be the season’s third. Hurricane Ida was a strong Category 4 when it made landfall Sunday near Port Fourchon, La., about 100 miles south of New Orleans. Hurricane Grace formed in the Caribbean in mid-August and hit Mexico at Category 3 strength.
As of Sept. 1, we’ve had 11 named storms and four hurricanes, two of which have been major hurricanes.
NOAA’s forecast has predicted a total of 15 to 21 named storms this Atlantic season, which means those with winds speeds of at least 39 mph, and 7 to 10 hurricanes.
Meanwhile, an area of low pressure has emerged in the southern Caribbean Sea. It’s forecast to move over the western Caribbean Sea toward Central America’s east coast, and could gain some strength over the warm open water. Any additional development is unlikely once it moves over land in Central America and Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.
Tropical Storm Kate continues to cling to tropical depression status and little change in its strength is forecast Wednesday, experts said. Kate is forecast to become a remnant low Thursday and dissipate on Friday, according to the hurricane center.
The next named storm to form would be Mindy.
Source: Sun Sentinel