Orlando Sentinel, FLORIDA – Tropical Storm Josephine’s western journey is expected to begin its northbound turn Friday to the upper Atlantic, while a second system with medium chances of developing emerged off North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Josephine saw some weakening of its maximum sustained winds, which decreased from 45 to 40 mph Friday morning, but still has tropical-storm force winds extending out 80 miles.
It did however maintain its forward second-gear speed of 17 mph.
On its current track, Tropical Storm Josephine is expected to turn northeast, away from Florida.
Models show Josephine steering clear of the Caribbean islands, but has it on a path directly to Bermuda. Although the storm is forecast to become a tropical depression again by that point.
Josephine made its debut as a tropical storm Thursday morning in the mid-Atlantic as the earliest 10th named storm on record. It upgraded from a tropical depression after convective patterns in the storm became more organized.
Southwesterly wind shear is predicted to meet Josephine on Friday and Saturday, eliminating its chances to grow stronger.
Two weather phenomenons are occurring in Florida’s favor, and protecting it from tropical events. The first is what’s keeping the Sunshine State from living up to its name every afternoon: a large trough of pressure causing intense afternoon thunderstorms the last two weeks.
The second protective reason is the dry air from the Saharan Air Layer forecast to further lessen the storm’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, which then blows 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 10 named storms, including two hurricanes plus the short-lived Tropical Depression 10. Typically, the tenth named storm of the year is 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.
“It might be the highest it’s ever been in my 27-year career here in Central Florida,” Richards said. “And we’re only in the middle of August.”
Meanwhile the hurricane center is keeping its eyes on another system off the East Coast of the United States. A broad area of low pressure over the North Carolina area is set to move east, northeast across the Atlantic between Canada and New England, the NHC said in its 2 a.m. update.
The system has a 40% chance of developing over the next 48 hours and a 50% chance of doing so over the next five days as it moves into the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.