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Hurricane Danielle set to form as NHC tracks 2 other systems

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After forming into Tropical Storm Danielle Thursday, the system quickly strengthened overnight with the National Hurricane Center expecting it to become Hurricane Danielle this morning, the first hurricane of 2022.

As of the NHC’s 5 a.m. Friday advisory, Danielle was located about 890 miles west of the Azores with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph moving east at 3 mph. The system is expected to grow into a Category 1 hurricane later Friday morning. The fourth named storm of the hurricane season, it’s the first in nearly two months.

Deep in the mid-Atlantic, Danielle is no current threat to land and is forecast to “meander during the next few days.”

Tropical-storm-force winds reach up to 70 miles from Danielle’s center.

Meteorologists are tracking two more weather systems with chances of becoming tropical depressions or storms in the next two to five days, according to the 8 a.m. Friday outlook.

The first system with high chances is a broad and elongated area of low pressure located several hundred miles east of the Leeward Islands. The system is producing a large area of showers and thunderstorms that have increased since Thursday, although the circulation remains broad.

“Although environmental conditions remain only marginally conducive, any additional development of the system over the next few days would lead to the formation of a tropical depression,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system this afternoon if necessary. It’s expected to move slowly west-northwestward toward the northern Leeward Islands where it has potential to produce heavy rain over the islands in the next couple of days.

The system has a 50% chance of forming into a tropical depression or storm in the next two days and a 70% chance in the next five.

Additionally, the NHC is tracking a broad area of low pressure northwest of the Cabo Verde islands. However, the system had its odds of development lower Thursday, although shower activity has increased overnight, but remains poorly organized.

“This system is moving into an area of less favorable environmental conditions, and significant development is not expected,” the NHC stated.

The NHC gives it a 10% chance of formation in the next two to five days.

If any of the systems form into a named tropical storm, it would become Tropical Storm Earl. After that, the hurricane season’s names are Fiona and Gaston.

The 2022 hurricane season has had only three named storms and none since early July. If that sounds like hurricane season is moving slowly, it’s because it is. Typically, the fourth named storm of the year emerges by or before Aug. 15, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The first hurricane is usually seen by Aug. 11.

But this season went the entire month of August without a named system. Despite the recent silence in the tropics, the NOAA still predicts an above-average year with 14 to 21 named storms as of an early August forecast. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with the traditional peak of hurricane season running from mid-August to mid-October.

The 2020 hurricane season set a record with 30 named systems, while 2021′s season was the third most active with 21 named systems. An average year calls for 14 named storms.

Sentinel staff writer Joe Mario Pedersen contributed to this report.