Tropical Storm Karl, which could become the fifth hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic season over the next week, is expected to steer clear of the U.S. coast but could impact Bermuda.
National Hurricane Center forecasters said Karl became better structured Monday afternoon and is likely to become more organized as hurricane-smothering wind shear slows in upcoming days. After about 48 hours, Karl could intensify quickly to a hurricane as it moves over warm ocean waters and encounters more moisture in the atmosphere.
At 5 p.m. Karl was located about 840 miles east, northeast of the Leeward Islands, pushing west, northwest at about 12 mph with sustained winds reaching 40 mph.
Steering currents are likely to keep the storm moving in the same direction over the next two days, but then pause enough to let the storm turn north. Forecasters say Karl will likely not affect the U.S. Coast, but because models are less certain predicting so many days ahead, it’s not yet clear if Bermuda will feel impacts from the storm next weekend.
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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 ended.
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.