Tropical Storm Karl could become the fifth hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic season over the next week, but will likely stay far from the U.S. coast.
In their 11 a.m. advisory, forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said hurricane-smothering wind shear continues to keep Karl from growing as it moves about 13 mph nearly 900 miles east of the Leeward Islands. But that shear is expected to slow in the next three to five days, allowing the storm to quickly intensify as it encounters warm water and a soggy environment.
While steering currents continue to push the storm west, a break in the currents in the next few days will likely turn it to the north away from the coast. While computer models are less reliable on longer term projections, they agree on a turn. Just not exactly when the turn will occur, forecasters said.
Karl’s sustained winds reached 40 mph Monday morning with tropical storm force winds extending 115 miles north of the storm’s center.
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So far, the Atlantic season is right on track for meeting expectations, with 11 named storms, four of which became hurricanes. Forecasters had initially called for an average year, but upped their forecast in August after a powerful El Niño started to fade. Forecasters now expect the season to generate 12 to 17 named storms, five to eight hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes. Hurricane Gaston, which remained well offshore in the central Atlantic, has been the only major hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph.