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Potential Tropical Cyclone One has realized its potential.
The cyclone became Tropical Storm Alex with the 2 a.m. Advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Sunday, becoming the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
The cyclone formed in the Atlantic this week and was expected to develop into a Tropical Storm eventually. However, conditions in the atmosphere Saturday were no longer favoring a tropical storm, and as the system moved closer toward Florida, it began to weaken. Alex has 50 mile-per-hour winds and is moving northeast toward Bermuda, where it was pass by on Monday. Strengthening is possible on Sunday, but the storm is expected to weaken on Monday and likely become extra-tropical by Tuesday.
For North Carolina, most beaches are under high or moderate rip current danger through Sunday evening. We could see some gusts up to 25 miles per hour in some places on Sunday morning.
The system brought heavy rain to Cuba on Friday and will cross southern Florida on Saturday, where tropical storm watches are in place. Florida will be the most impacted from the system, WRAL Elizabeth Gardner said.
This storm could bring up to 15 inches of rain to Florida, even without its tropical storm status.
Early in the week, meteorologists saw a more defined center of circulation. Winds were at 40mph on Thursday — and they need to be at 39 mph or higher with a clearly defined center of circulation to become an official tropical storm.
But by Saturday, the storm had fallen apart, and it was no longer looking like a system that would form into a tropical storm. Winds were still moving at 40mph on Saturday.
“We have wind shear working against it,” said WRAL meteorologist Brian Shrader. “A lot of factors in the atmosphere are working against this thing strengthening.”
Current models show that the track is well-off the coast of North Carolina, but we still could see some impacts, including increased rip current risks and some storms.
Moisture from the storm could interact with a frontal boundary, bringing showers and storms to North Carolina’s southern coast Sunday.
The latest report on this year’s hurricane season predicts another above-average number of storms will form in the Atlantic Ocean.
Experts in North Carolina say the report comes as climate change is creating more powerful hurricanes and making their behavior more dangerous as well.
Researchers expect 19 named storms and four major hurricanes to form in the north Atlantic from June to November.