Hurricane Danny peaking as Category 3 storm, forecasters say

News post, weather August 21, 2015

The first Atlantic hurricane of the year reached major status on Friday, strengthening to a Category 3 storm about 900 miles east of the eastern Caribbean islands, the National Hurricane Center said.

But forecasters call for a weakening Friday night as Hurricane Danny heads west and hits “unfavorable upper-level winds” for the next two days.

“Danny has likely peaked in intensity based on the signs of shear in the cloud pattern, stronger upper-level winds present west of the cyclone, and abundant nearby dry air,” the center said in a forecast discussion.

forecast track shows Danny could reach the Leeward Islands such as Guadeloupe and Montserrat as only a tropical storm around Monday morning.

Danny had estimated maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kilometers per hour) Friday afternoon, the hurricane center said, citing measurements taken by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aircraft.

Danny is relatively tiny, forecasters say, with hurricane-force winds extending only 15 miles (24 km) from its center on Friday.

Danny on Tuesday became the first named storm of the Atlantic season — unusually, if not unexpectedly, late.

Forecasters had already said this year’s season would produce a below-normal number of Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, in part because of this year’s strong El Niño, which is causing strong wind shears in the Atlantic, hindering cyclone development.

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