Hurricane Earl is seen in the Atlantic basin near Bermuda on Wednesday. Forecasters expect the storm will pass by Bermuda and head to the northeast, avoiding landfall in the United States. Image courtesy NOAA/NHC
Sept. 7 (BP) — Tropical Storm Earl strengthened into a hurricane late on Tuesday and forecasters expect it will become a major hurricane in the coming days as it heads near Bermuda.
Earl formed in the Caribbean last weekend to become the fifth named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, following Alex, Bonnie, Colin and Danielle.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. EDT update Wednesday that the storm was located 485 miles south of Bermuda. It had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and was moving north at 6 mph.
A storm becomes a hurricane when sustained winds reach 74 mph. It becomes a major hurricane at Category 3 — when winds exceed 111 mph — or higher.
“A turn toward the north-northeast and then northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected to begin on Thursday and continue through early Saturday,” the NHC said in its update.
“On the forecast track, the center of Earl is expected to pass to the southeast of Bermuda late Thursday and Thursday night.”
The storm is not projected to make landfall anywhere in the United States. After passing Bermuda, it is expected to keep heading to the northeast, away from the U.S. East Coast.
Hurricanes Danielle and Earl came after a highly unusual August, during which there were zero named tropical systems. It was the first time in 25 years that August came and went without a named storm in the Atlantic basin.
Accuweather meteorologists expect there will still be 16 named storms before the hurricane season ends on Nov. 30. They project that between six and eight will become hurricanes.
“Our thinking has not changed as far as 2022 still being an active season,” AccuWeather hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said last month. “Our biggest concern is for a high chance for high-impact hurricanes.”