Tropical Storm Josephine is forecast to bend northeastward starting late Sunday, avoiding Florida with Bermuda in its sights.
As of 5pm on Saturday (August 15) she was located about 160 miles northeast of the northern Leeward Islands packing maximum sustained winds of 45mph and moving WNW at 17mph.
Current models show the storm will be downgraded to a tropical depression before it reaches Bermuda early Thursday.
As of midnight Tropical Storm Josephine was located at 20.1N 62.6W, approximately 741nm south of Bermuda moving WNW or 300 degrees at 12kt, with maximum winds at 40kt with gusts to 50kt.
According to the Bermuda Weather Service, the closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hrs (3 days) is forecast to be 244 nm to the SW of the island by 12 am on Wednesday, August 19.
However, this system may move closer to Bermuda after this time period depending upon its track.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Kyle passed to our distant north with Josephine still approaching the local area, although the storm is expected to weaken to “a remnant low before reaching our area”.
According to the National Hurricane Center: “Josephine is expected to cause storm-total rainfall of 1 to 3 inches over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
“Isolated minor flooding is possible in Puerto Rico through Monday.”
Josephine made its debut as a tropical storm Thursday morning in the mid-Atlantic as the earliest 10th named storm on record followed by Friday’s Kyle becoming the earliest 11th storm. Josephine upgraded from a tropical depression after convective patterns in the storm became more organized. Kyle skipped over the tropical-depression phase and went straight to tropical-storm status.
Two weather phenomenons are currently protecting Florida from tropical events. The first is a large trough of pressure that’s keeping the Sunshine State from living up to its name every afternoon. That trough is responsible for the intense afternoon thunderstorms during the past two weeks.
The second protective reason is the dry air from the Saharan Air Layer, which is forecast to further lessen Josephine’s power.
The Saharan Air Layer is a plume of beige dust that whips off the African continent every year and into the upper atmosphere. From there, it travels into the tropical Atlantic region. The dust acts as a hurricane shield to the area by absorbing moisture and disturbing the still air with wind shear. However, the SAL is expected to peak next week — meaning less dry dust will be occupying the air.
The season has now seen 11 named storms, including two hurricanes, as well as the short-lived Tropical Depression 10. Typically, the tenth (and now 11th) named storms of the year are identified around mid- to late-October, said Fox-35 meteorologist Glenn Richards. The average hurricane season has 12 named storms, but 2020 has proven it will not be an average season.
Tropical Storm Kyle headed out to sea on Saturday, while Tropical Storm Josephine continued on a northwesterly path where the Leeward Islands should be spared major impact. Neither storm should have an effect on Florida.
As of 5pm on Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said Kyle was located about 715 miles southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Maximum sustained winds were reported at 50 miles per hour as the storm moved east-northeast away from the coast at 22 mph.
“Little change in strength is expected overnight, and gradual weakening is forecast to begin on Sunday,” the NHC reported.
“Kyle is expected to become post-tropical overnight or on Sunday.”