Tropical Depression #18 has formed in the central Atlantic Ocean; in the coming days, the Miami, Florida-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects this depression to become a powerful hurricane, eventually becoming Major Hurricane Sam within the next 5 days.
Corrected to include a location reference point for the system.
Based on the latest advisory from the NHC, the center of Tropical Depression #18 was located about 2,030 miles east-southeast of the Northern Leeward Islands and heading west at 15 mph. The depression has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and an estimated minimum central pressure of 1008 mb or 29.77″.
The depression is moving toward the west near 15 mph the NHC expects the storm to continue this general direction for the next day or two followed by a gradual turn to the west-northwest by Friday. The NHC expects strengthening over the next several days; based on their latest advisory, the system should become Tropical Storm Sam by tomorrow morning, Hurricane Sam by Saturday morning, and Major Hurricane Sam by Monday afternoon with maximum sustained winds in excess of 110 mph.
There are no watches or warnings in effect at this time for this storm. The system is at least 5 days away of interacting with any landmass, if it were to interact with any landmass.
Computer forecast models are conflicted with long range guidance on what this storm will do beyond the next 5 days. The American GFS and European ECMWF haven’t had exceptional run-to-run or model-to-model consistency with this system over the last 48 hours. It is too soon to know for sure if this storm will curve out to sea, impact the Caribbean or Bermuda, or perhaps even impact the United States coastline.
Until there’s better clarity with the extended outlook, the National Hurricane Center is urging people anywhere in the Atlantic Hurricane Basin to be prepared for any tropical cyclone threat that could materialize on their shores.
With a busy hurricane season underway, the National Hurricane Center may exhaust its list of storm names. After Sam, only Teresa, Victor, and Wanda remain. Unlike in previous years where the NHC would switch over to letters of the Greek alphabet, this year they would pull from an extra list of names in alphabetical order. A decision was made earlier this year to change the naming process when the first batch of names is used up. Should a storm beyond Wanda require a name, the next storm name to be used would be Adria.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs through to the end of November.