SEPTEMBER 18, 2023
Hurricane Nigel is expected to rapidly strengthen into a major hurricane on Tuesday, forecasters said, but it poses no immediate threat to land as it storms over the Atlantic Ocean.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said early on Monday that Nigel was about 935 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. According to the hurricane center, Nigel had maximum sustained winds of nearly 80 miles per hour, making it a Category 1 hurricane, and was moving northwest at 12 mph.
The hurricane center says Nigel is expected to reach Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with winds of at least 111 mph by Tuesday. A gradual weakening trend could start late Wednesday,” the center said in its latest advisory.
There were no coastal watches or warnings in effect, and current models of Nigel’s path show the storm is not expected to make landfall. Nigel is expected to continue to travel northwest until Wednesday before curving and moving northeast across the Atlantic Ocean towards the coast of Ireland over the next few days.
“Nigel is now a hurricane, but thankfully will stay out to sea and avoid the United States,” CBS 21 meteorologist Steve Knight wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, alongside a clip showing Nigel’s projected path.
Hurricane Lee became the Atlantic hurricane season’s first Category 5 storm with winds of 165 mph earlier in September.
However, Lee had weakened to a post-tropical cyclone by the time it made landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada, on Saturday, bringing destructive winds and torrential rains to New England and Maritime Canada. The powerful winds caused a number of trees to fall in coastal Maine, one of which killed a motorist.
And in late August, Hurricane Idalia hit Florida’s Big Bend region as a high-end Category 3 storm, causing devastating storm surge and extreme flooding. Idalia was downgraded, but still a powerful tropical storm by the time it passed over Georgia and South Carolina.
Nigel is the 14th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 and peaks in September.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in May predicted there would be 12 to 17 named storms during this year’s six-month hurricane season.
But the NOAA revised its forecast in August, saying it predicted between 14 and 21 named storms this season, with six to 11 of them expected to become hurricanes, and of those, two to five possibly developing into major hurricanes. An average year has 14 named storms.