Tropical Storm Kirk reforms near Windward Islands
Tropical Storm Kirk is back.
After fizzling Tuesday, torn apart by its own quick speed and high wind shear, Kirk rekindled Wednesday as expected. It’s now headed toward the northern Windward Islands, where tropical storm warnings and watches were issued Wednesday morning.
The storm was about 305 miles east of Barbados. Over the course of the morning, Kirk strengthened, with sustained winds increasing from 45 mph to 60 mph. Tropical storm force winds extended 115 miles from its center as the storm moved quickly west at 18 mph, National Hurricane Center forecasters said in a 2 p.m. update.
As it crosses the islands, likely Thursday, Kirk is expected to dump between four and six inches of rain, with up to 10 inches in Martinique and Dominica, forecasters said.
The fickle storm is set to fall apart yet again after it crosses the islands and heads into the eastern Caribbean.
The Atlantic revved back up last week after a brief lull following a brutal landfall by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, where swollen rivers continue to crest and flood neighborhoods. On Wednesday, a week after the storm departed, emergency workers were still warning of more flooding. So far, the storm has killed 47 in the Carolinas and Virginia.
Having storms form and falter is not unusual as they move across the Atlantic, encountering changing conditions in the environment, National Hurricane Center meteorologist and spokesman Dennis Feltgen said. That was case with Harvey last year when it became the first major hurricane to make a U.S. landfall in a decade and stalled over Texas, producing record rain and forcing about 30,000 people from their homes.
“It degenerated to a wave over the eastern Caribbean and, four days later, regenerated over the Gulf of Mexico,” Feltgen said. “If the system breaks up and then moves into a more favorable environment, regeneration can occur.”
Kirk is not expected to last and for now is forecast to encounter strong upper atmospheric winds in three days that again scramble it. If it takes a more northward path, that could happen sooner.
In addition to Kirk, forecasters were watching a leftover piece of Florence that circled back after the hurricane departed last week. The low pressure system, located about 100 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, could bring unwelcome rain to North Carolina. Leslie also continues to meander around the North Atlantic, several hundred miles southwest of the Azores. Forecasters gave it a 90 percent chance of transitioning back to a tropical system over the next five days far from the U.S. coast.