Earl becomes the second hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic season

Earl becomes the second hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic season

Tropical Storm Earl intensified into the second hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic season on Tuesday evening as it churned north toward Bermuda, where a tropical storm watch had been issued.

The storm is forecast to build into a major hurricane by Thursday night, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was about 550 miles south of Bermuda and was expected to gradually turn to the north-northeast Thursday. That track would have the storm passing to the southeast of the island by Thursday evening.

As of 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the storm was moving north at around 7 mph, with maximum sustained winds of around 80 mph with higher gusts. A tropical storm reaches hurricane strength when its maximum sustained winds are at least 74 mph.

Storm conditions were possible on Bermuda beginning Thursday afternoon. Earl’s hurricane-force winds were extending outward to 40 miles, with tropical-storm-force winds extending 115 miles, the Hurricane Center said.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to November, has had a relatively quiet start, with only three named storms before last week. There were no named storms in the Atlantic during August, the first time that has happened since 1997.

In addition to Earl, Hurricane Danielle has been meandering across the central North Atlantic.

In the Pacific, Typhoon Hinnamnor brought heavy rain and strong winds to South Korea on Tuesday, leaving severe, if isolated, flooding and damage in its wake. And Tropical Storm Kay, off southwestern Mexico, was expected to strengthen this week as it approached Baja California.

In early August, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an updated forecast for the rest of the season, which still predicted an above-normal level of activity. In it, they said that the season — which runs through Nov. 30 — could see 14 to 20 named storms, with six to 10 turning into hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 74 mph. Three to five of those could strengthen into what NOAA calls major hurricanes — Category 3 or stronger — with winds of at least 111 mph.

Last year, there were 21 named storms, after a record-breaking 30 in 2020. For the past two years, meteorologists have exhausted the list of names used to identify storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, an occurrence that has happened only one other time, in 2005.

The links between hurricanes and climate change have become clearer with each passing year. Data show that hurricanes have become stronger worldwide during the past four decades. Over time, a warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — though the overall number of storms could drop, because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.

Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because of more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere. Scientists have suggested storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced far more rain than they would have without the human effects on climate. Also, rising sea levels are contributing to higher storm surge — the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.



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