After forming in the Atlantic on Monday, Tropical Storm Don was heading toward the islands on the southeastern edge of the Caribbean on Tuesday, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said.
But Don, a smaller-than-average tropical storm whose winds had intensified from 40 mph on Monday to 50 mph on Tuesday, was no threat to Florida.
That’s because Don was pretty far south and was also expected to dissipate within 72 hours after running into storm-hindering wind shear. Wind shear refers to fluctuations in the speed and direction of winds in the atmosphere.
“We’re expecting the environment to become more of a hindrance because of the [wind] shear,” said U.S. Navy Hurricane Specialist Dave Roberts.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the islands of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
A tropical storm watch was in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, and Bonaire.
In this case the warning means tropical storm conditions are expected within 24 hours, while the watch mean those conditions are possible over that time frame.
Don was expected to move over the islands Tuesday night before moving westward through the Caribbean Sea on Wednesday. It was expected to weaken on Wednesday.
Don is the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season’s fourth named storm — the latest in what’s been a busy start to the season.
According to a tweet from hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University, on average it takes until Aug. 23 to reach the fourth named storm of the season.
Hurricane forecasters say a busy start doesn’t necessarily mean things will stay that way, but they’ve also predicted that this hurricane season will see above-average activity. So far that prediction has been true.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center in Miami is also monitoring another patch of weather to the east of Don in the Atlantic. The disturbance was several hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, an archipelago off the African coast. The disturbance was given a 40 percent chance of development over the next five days and was expected to move northwest over the open Atlantic through the middle of the week, when it’s likely to hit unfavorable conditions that could bring about its demise.
Don also wasn’t expected to be long-lived at this point because it was heading toward wind conditions that would likely cause it to lose its closed circulation and become a trough, or an elongated area of low pressure, the hurricane center said.
So far, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has seen three previous tropical storms, Arlene, Bret, and Cindy.
Arlene was a rare April storm but it stayed far from land in the Atlantic, while Bret brought heavy rains and flooding to parts of Trinidad and Venezuela. Cindy has so far been the only one to make landfall in the U.S., coming ashore at the Texas-Louisiana border. Cindy was also blamed for the death of a boy who was struck by debris at an Alabama beach.