At the same time that Hurricane Matthew ravages the southeastern US, a new tropical storm has appeared just south of Bermuda. Together, the two have set a new late-season record for storms in the Atlantic. Welcome to the frightening realities of a warmer world.
Tropical Storm Nicole. (Image: NASA/NOAA/NRL)
This latest storm, called Nicole, achieved hurricane status yesterday morning, setting a new record for the Atlantic Ocean. As Hurricane Matthew’s winds approached 193km per hour, Nicole’s winds reached 169km per hour. As NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center explained, “it marked the latest in the calendar year that two storms in the North Atlantic Ocean have had winds over 105 mph [169km/h] simultaneously”.
Nicole was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm last night. It no longer features a tell-tale eye, and satellite images show clouds being pushed away from the centre by vertical wind shear. At 8:00PM AEST, the storm was located about 555km due south of Bermuda.
At the moment, this storm is barely moving, but it’s slowly migrating southwards. Nicole is expected to make an about-face on Sunday and start tracking north towards Bermuda. Another possibility is that the storm will start to drift westwards on Sunday.
Ocean swells produced by Nicole, along with rough surf conditions, will affect Bermuda for at least the next five days. Thankfully, the storm is expected to weaken over the coming days, and it may never re-attain hurricane status.