September 23, 2023

Hundreds of miles off the coast of North Carolina late Monday night, Tropical Storm Bill was armored by a tropical depression and became the second-named storm of Atlantic hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center said.

The weather system was expected to stay away from the coast and was forecast to be “short-lived”.

As of early Tuesday morning, Tropical Storm Bill was located about 240 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, the Hurricane Center said.

Later that morning, the Hurricane Center said Bill was “racing northeast,” with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

A Category 1 hurricane has wind speeds above 74 mph

While there were no coastguards or warnings, the storm was moving northeast at 38 miles per hour and should continue at increasing forward speed on that stretch through Wednesday, the Hurricane Center said.

Additional reinforcement was possible for Tuesday, but the storm was set to turn to a post-tropical low and dissipate on Wednesday.

Meteorologists also observed a weather disruption in the Gulf of Mexico. It produced showers and thunderstorms over Campeche Bay, west of the Yucatán Peninsula. This system was expected to move north and possibly turn into a tropical depression by the end of the week bringing heavy rains to the northern Gulf coast.

A second disturbance, described as a tropical wave, has been reported hundreds of miles south of the Cabo Verde Islands.

In late May, the Atlantic recorded its first named storm of hurricane season. Ana, a subtropical storm, developed northeast of Bermuda. It was the seventh year in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic prior to the official start of the season on June 1.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict there will be 13 to 20 named storms this year, including six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major category 3 or higher hurricanes in the Atlantic.

Last year there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, which forced meteorologists to deplete the alphabet for a second time and switch to Greek letters. It was the highest number of storms in history, surpassing 28 from 2005, and including the second highest number of hurricanes on record.

Hurricanes are getting more dangerous and destructive with every season of the year. Climate change leads to stronger storms with heavier rainfall. The storms also tend to dawdle and meander. A combination of rising sea levels and slower storms also leads to higher and more destructive storm surges.

This hurricane season comes because resources are already scarce. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been preoccupied with the migrant crisis along the Mexico border and operates coronavirus vaccination centers in several states and is still managing the recovery from a string of record disasters that began with Hurricane Harvey in 2017. About 4,000 of the agency’s 13,000 or more rescue workers were available to respond to a new disaster, 29 percent fewer than at the start of the hurricane season last year.