MIAMI – A subtropical depression that formed Wednesday in the central Atlantic transformed itself into Subtropical Storm Ernesto, although it poses no risk at present for populated areas, the US National Hurricane Center reported.
The system is located 1,120 kilometers (about 700 miles) southeast of Cape Race in Newfoundland and is moving north at 13 kph (8 mph), the NHC said in its most recent bulletin.
Ernesto is packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kph and it expected to increase its speed northwards between Thursday and Saturday.
A subtropical storm is a hybrid between a cold-centered winter storm and a warm-centered summer storm.
Experts at the Miami-based NHC forecast Ernesto’s additional strengthening in the next 24 hours.
US meteorologists predicted on Aug. 9 an Atlantic hurricane season 60 percent below normal, compared to the predictions of a season 25 percent below normal last May, with the formation of 4-7 hurricanes and 9-13 tropical storms.
The new prediction, as revised by the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is for five Atlantic hurricanes (instead of seven) with just one of them attaining the most destructive level (as opposed to the earlier prediction of three).
So far during this Atlantic hurricane season four tropical storms have formed, of which Beryl and Chris developed into Category 1 and 2 hurricanes, respectively.
The reason for the lowering of the number of anticipated storms is given in a report by Philip J. Klotzbach, the project’s research chief, citing the fact that tropical Atlantic waters are cooler than normal and there exists a relatively high potential for the development of a weak El Niño weather phenomenon in the coming months.