National Hurricane Center monitoring system off Carolinas; Nigel now a hurricane
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The National Hurricane Center is monitoring an area for potential tropical development off the Carolinas.
As of the initial outlook, meteorologists are forecasting a 20 percent chance of development over the next seven days.
The low likelihood for development is typical for a development area this far in advance, as the system is not expected to become organized until later this week.
However, if trends continue, the likelihood of development is expected to increase, according to WNCN Meteorologist Lance Blocker.
What does it mean for Central North Carolina?
As of now, the two primary forecast models are signaling very different outcomes. The latest American GFS forecast model shows a potential tropical storm developing northeast of Florida, and then moving inland over South Carolina.
That scenario would generate widespread rain Friday night through Sunday morning in Central North Carolina.
However, the European ECMWF forecast model shows a “non-tropical” low forming just offshore of South Carolina, and then moving northeast.
If the European forecast were to be correct, it would mean heavy rain along the coast next weekend, but much lower forecast totals inland.
Blocker cautioned that either forecast model has a very low probability of being accurate at this point, and this is just something to keep an eye on, but not to alter plans for.
Meanwhile, Nigel strengthened into a hurricane overnight, becoming the 14th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Nigel is expected to rapidly strengthen by Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
The NHC said the storm is located about 935 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and is moving toward the northwest near 12 mph. Nigel is forecast to turn northward late Tuesday and then accelerate northeastward through the rest of the week.
Nigel’s winds have increased to 80 mph, with higher gusts. Meteorologists said Nigel is forecast to rapidly strengthen into a major hurricane on Tuesday. It could start weakening late Wednesday.
As of Monday’s forecast, the NHC has Nigel staying out to sea.