A tropical depression formed off the North Carolina coast Monday and was poised to become the second named storm of what could develop into a surly 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
The National Weather Service predicted the storm would strengthen to tropical storm status Monday night. That would mean it gets a name – Bill.
The weather service said the system, about 105 miles east of Cape Hatteras, had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph at 11 a.m. Monday. The system was heading away from the U.S. coast and toward the northeast at 21 mph.
The storm could continue to strengthen on Tuesday but should begin to weaken by Tuesday night and is expected to dissipate on Wednesday, the weather service said.
NOAA predicts a busy Atlantic hurricane season: Up to 20 named storms
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said the system should be strong enough to churn up seas offshore, which could affect shipping and fishing. As the system passes east of New England, a brief period of rough surf may occur in eastern Massachusetts, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, he said.
But overall, the threat is minimal, he said.
“Strong winds associated with a developing southward dip in the jet stream in the Northeast are expected to be enough to prevent landfall in the U.S. and whisk the system away at increasing speed through the middle of the week,” Pydynowski said.
First threat of 2021 hurricane season? Forecasters eye developing storm
The storm developed two weeks into the hurricane season that runs through Nov. 30. The first storm of the season, Ana, was a bit premature, developing just northeast of Bermuda in late May. Ana had a brief life span over the the Atlantic.
The federal government expects another active Atlantic hurricane season in 2021:As many as 10 hurricanes could form. An average season typically spawns seven hurricanes and peaks in August and September. This season could bring a record sixth consecutive year of above-normal activity.
From Ana to Wanda: The list of tropical storm and hurricane names for 2021
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said up to 20 named storms will develop this season, including tropical storms with wind speeds of 39 mph or higher. Storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph.
Of the predicted hurricanes, three to five could be major, packing wind speeds of 111 mph or higher. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season set a record with 30 named systems, 14 of which strengthened into hurricanes.
Contributing: Doyle Rice