Tropical Storm Fred Develops Near Puerto Rico
A storm system south of Puerto Rico turned into Tropical Storm Fred on Tuesday night, the sixth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
In an update before 11 p.m., the National Hurricane Center warned that Tropical Storm Fred is expected to produce heavy rain over Puerto Rico overnight and Hispaniola on Wednesday, which could lead to flash floods. Fred was producing winds of up to 40 miles per hour, moving westward at 17 mph, the hurricane center said.
By Thursday, the hurricane center said, the storm is expected to be near the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The storm was expected to move over Cuba and head northwest into the Gulf of Mexico near Florida, according to the forecast from the hurricane center.
The storm could threaten Florida with wind and rain by Friday, but forecast details were still unclear, the hurricane center said.
The links between hurricanes and climate change are becoming increasingly evident. A warming planet can expect to see stronger hurricanes over time and a higher incidence of more powerful storms, although the total number of storms may decline as factors like stronger wind shear could prevent the formation of weaker storms.
Hurricanes also get wetter due to increased water vapor in the warmer atmosphere; scientists have suggested that storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced much more rain than they would have had without the human effects on the climate. In addition, rising sea levels contribute to increased storm surges, the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.
A major United Nations climate report released on Monday warned that countries had delayed cutting fossil fuel emissions for so long that they could no longer prevent global warming from intensifying over the next 30 years, resulting in life-threatening heat waves and more frequent severe droughts. . Tropical cyclones have likely become more intense over the past 40 years, according to the report, a change that cannot be explained by natural variability alone.
Ana became the first named storm of the season on May 23, making it the seventh consecutive year that a named storm has developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season on June 1.
Extreme weather conditions
The most recent named storm in the Atlantic was Hurricane Elsa in early July. Elsa passed through Cuba, then Florida, eventually making her way to New York City, where heavy rains from the storm flooded subway stations and roads.
In May, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year, of which six to 10 would be hurricanes and three to five major Category 3 or more hurricanes in the Atlantic. Last week, in a mid-season forecast update, they continued to warn that this year’s hurricane season would be above average, suggesting a busy end to the season.
Matthew Rosencrans, of NOAA, said an updated forecast suggested there would be 15 to 21 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes, by the end of the season on November 30. Fred is the sixth named storm of 2021.
Last year there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, forcing meteorologists to exhaust the alphabet for the second time and use the Greek letters.
It was the highest number of storms on record, exceeding 28 in 2005, and included the second highest number of hurricanes on record.
Jesus Jiménez contributed reporting.
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