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September 20, 2011

Next storm now organizing in the Atlantic

A big tropical low is getting better organized in the central Atlantic Ocean, and forecasters are giving it a 70 percent chance of becoming the next named storm of the 2011 Atlantic season, sometime in the next 48 hours.

NOAA/NHCThe storm is already kicking up thunderstorms and looks pretty healthy from orbit. Forecasters say conditions in the region are favorable for continued development. If it does reach tropical storm strength, it would become Tropical Storm Ophelia, the 14th named storm of the season.

The count is now approaching the lower end of pre-season forecasts for the number of named storms this season, which ranged from 13 to 16. But hurricane counts remain low. Only three storms have made it to hurricane strength - Irene, Katia and Maria. The major forecasters have predicted at least 6 to 9 hurricanes this season. 

Only two of this year's hurricanes reached "major" Cat. 3 strength or higher. Irene was a Cat. 3 storm at sea, but weakened to Cat. 1 at landfall in North Carolina.  Katia was a Cat. 4 at sea, but never made landfall until it reached the United Kingdom. Maria was a tropical storm for most of its life, reaching Cat. 1 strength over the open Atlantic, with no U.S. landfall.

Forecasters had predicted at least 3 to 5 of this year's storms would reach Cat. 3 or higher.

The season ends officially on Nov. 30.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:31 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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