Tropical Storm Fiona forms in the Atlantic

Continued movement due west is expected in the short term
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The National Hurricane Center has begun issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Fiona, centered about 645 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the central Atlantic.

Tropical Depression Seven now Tropical Storm Fiona
Tropical Depression Seven now Tropical Storm Fiona(KBTX Weather)

10 PM National Hurricane Center Advisory on Tropical Storm Fiona

Maximum Sustatined Winds (mph)Minimum Central PressureLocated at:Movement
50 mph1002 mb16.7°N 52.0°WWNW at 16 mph

Tropical Depression Seven began to show signs of organization Tuesday night, and despite moving into a less favorable environment for development, persisted and maintained organization into Wednesday. Estimated maximum sustained winds are at 50 mph. Upper-level winds and dry air above the surface may slow development over the next couple days, but the NHC thinks some additional organization is possible as it moves west toward the Leeward Islands.

Highlighted in the forecast track is Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, including Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Continued movement due west is expected in the short term, but from this weekend onward, there is still pretty significant uncertainty.

While it is still too early to determine if this storm will impact states along the Gulf Coast, Fiona will be worth watching over the course of the next week or so. The next storm name to be designated is Gaston.

Fiona designated. Next name is Gaston.
Fiona designated. Next name is Gaston.(KBTX Weather)

At this time in 2020, twenty named storms had already formed, reinforcing the extremely slow nature of this Hurricane Season. Both NOAA and Colorado State University, two of the leading tropical meteorology research institutes, predicted that this would be an above-average season.

NOAA released this outlook in August, predicting an above average season.
NOAA released this outlook in August, predicting an above average season.(KBTX Weather)

For that to happen, the rest of the season would need unprecedented tropical development. The presence of Saharan dust in the tropics continues to inhibit further development. The dry and hot air in the Atlantic atmosphere inhibits upward motion in the atmosphere, not allowing tropical cyclone development. If this pattern persists, we are on track for a below-average hurricane season.

Hot and dry air to blame for lack of storms
Hot and dry air to blame for lack of storms(KBTX Weather)

We will continue to monitor Tropical Storm Fiona for now, but the chances for intensification do not look great. That may change in the coming days, but it is forecasted to remain at the tropical storm classification for now.