Tropical Storm Alex passing near Bermuda, new hurricane forecasts continue to suggest an active hurricane season ahead

Tropical Storm Alex, absent of any thunderstorms near its center of circulation, is quickly shedding its tropical characteristics Monday morning as it passes only about 100 miles north of Bermuda.

Although much of the hilly archipelago sits more than 100 feet above sea level, wind observations at lower elevations near the international airport as well as at a Bermuda Weather Service buoy are recording solid tropical storm conditions (39-73 mph winds) at the surface with gusts nearing hurricane strength (74 mph or greater).

Alex is getting much of its energy now from strong jet stream winds – rather than now sub-80 degree ocean waters – which are accelerating the storm system farther out into the open north Atlantic.

Alex will complete its transition to an extratropical cyclone Monday and the National Hurricane Center should issue its final advisory later in the morning.

In other tropical news, the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) released its June Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast Sunday, which shows an eye-catching 19 named storms and 11 hurricanes this hurricane season.

This is a notable increase from the center’s May 2022 season forecasts, which called for 16 named storms and 8 hurricanes.

Generally speaking, the accuracy of seasonal hurricane forecasts improves after May, once we pass the oft-cited spring El Nino predictability barrier.

The overall season hurricane activity forecast by the center is the highest since its forecasts began 30 years ago.

While these latest forecasts could be overbaked, they’re in line with other seasonal forecasts that take a statistical approach – like those from Colorado State University, which consider the modeled forecasts, but also consider things like the pattern of warm tropical Atlantic waters and the evolution of waters in the eastern equatorial pacific.

While a busy hurricane season is no guarantee of storm impacts for us in South Florida (and vice versa, as Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida during a much below average hurricane season), the flavor of recent seasonal forecasts tell us we’ll have plenty to watch in the months ahead.

Latest update on the tropics provided by Local 10 Hurricane Specialist and Storm Surge Expert Michael Lowry.

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