Tracking the Tropics: Atlantic basin active as peak hurricane season arrives

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — This week marks the statistical peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and the tropics are active with two tropical storms as well as a disturbance off the east coast and a tropical wave set to emerge off the coast of Africa.

It’s been a busy hurricane season so far in the Atlantic with 17 named storms – including five hurricanes: Hanna, Isaias, Laura, Marco and Nana. There are only four names left on the list this year – Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred – until we reach the Greek alphabet.

Thursday is the statistical peak of the hurricane season: Sept. 10. Here’s what we’re tracking in the tropics:

Tropical Storm Paulette

Tropical Storm Paulette formed on Monday over the central tropical Atlantic.

As of 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, Paulette is just more than 1,000 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands and is moving slowly west-northwest over the central Atlantic. The storm is expected to continue moving in that direction until a turn toward the northwest Friday night.

Paulette has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph with some higher guests. The National Hurricane Center says some weakening is expected in the coming days.

Tropical Storm Rene

Rene initially strengthened to a tropical storm on Monday then weakened to become a depression again early Wednesday morning. But just a few hours later, the NHC said the system had restrengthened to become Tropical Storm Rene again.

As of 11 a.m., Rene is about 510 miles west-northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

Rene is moving west-northwest at about 13 mph. The NHC says the storm is expected to continue in that direction for the next few days before turning to the northwest.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service say Rene is expected to gradually strengthen and eventually become a hurricane later this week.

Area of low pressure

According to the NHC, a small area of low pressure is producing shower and thunderstorm activity about 375 miles off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The NHC forecast says it will likely move northwest at about 10 or 15 mph before reaching eastern North Carolina on Thursday afternoon. Some development is possible before the system starts moving inland, forecasters say.

As off Wednesday morning, the system has a 30 percent chance of formation through the next 48 hours and 30 percent over the next five days.

Tropical wave

The NHC is also tracking a tropical wave that’s expected to emerge off the west coast of Africa Thursday.

Once the wave moves over water, gradual development is expected. Forecasters say a tropical depression is likely to form later this week or over the weekend as the system moves west over the Atlantic.

The wave has a medium 40 percent chance of formation in the next 48 hours and a high 80 percent chance of formation in the next five days.

Tracking the Tropics is keeping you updated, informed and safe this hurricane season. Watch live weather updates with some of the nation’s top meteorologists every Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET.

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