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Fred: A Rare Hurricane For Cape Verde Islands

By Washington Post & Weather.com — last modified Sep 06, 2015 10:50 AM
Hurricane Fred, which formed over last weekend in the far eastern Atlantic, is truly one of a kind. Not only has Fred set the record for easternmost hurricane in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, it prompted the very first hurricane warning for the Cape Verde Islands and has provided the first satellite view of a hurricane in the region since weather satellites were launched into space in the early 1960s.

Published: 2015-09-05 23:00:00
Topics: Atlantic Ocean East , Weather
Countries: Azores , Cape Verdes

Fred: A Rare Hurricane For Cape Verde Islands

Fred latest position Sep 6 2015 06:12 - weather.com

As reported by the Washington Post.and Weather.com - Hurricane Central

Hurricane Fred was born from Tropical Depression Six, which formed early Sunday morning just west of the coast of Africa. Fred formed from what is known as an "African easterly wave" — an area of low pressure that moves west off the coast of Africa in the trade winds that can serve as the seed for hurricane formation.

Interestingly, for easterly waves to make the long journey across the Atlantic Ocean and become a threat to land, they must remain relatively weak at first to avoid getting steered northward through weaknesses in the vast area of high pressure that tends to dominate the Atlantic in the summer.

The system was quickly upgraded to Tropical Storm Fred, remarkably far east in the Atlantic. Then on Sunday night, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center saw enough strength in Fred to make it the second hurricane of the 2015 season, which also made it the easternmost hurricane formation on record in the Atlantic Ocean.

Sort of. A slight qualifier is needed: Fred now holds the record for the easternmost hurricane formation in the tropics. Looking back through the annals, just 11 hurricanes formed east of 30 degrees west, and of those, 10 were in the deep tropics (classic “Cape Verde” hurricane formations). Back in 2005, Hurricane Vince briefly reached hurricane intensity while tracking toward Portugal and was further east than Fred when it did so. It was also much farther north, and outside the tropics. These records extend back to 1851.

The other 10 storms — the classic Cape Verde hurricanes in the tropics — quickly recurved to the north, but Hurricane Fred is the first to actually pass over the Cape Verde Islands as a hurricane.

The Associated Press reported all airports were closed in the republic Monday, in anticipation of the storm. They also reported that the storm caused flooding, scattered power outages and uprooted some trees, but no major damage was noted.

A combination of factors weakened the hurricane during the first half of last week, including drier air, cooler water temperatures and increasing wind shear, which acts to tear tropical cyclones apart.

Current Status and Forecast (from www.weather.com):

  • Fred is hanging on as a tropical depression, located about 1,300 miles southwest of the Azores.
  • Fred will likely struggle to remain a named tropical system through the holiday weekend, thanks to wind shear.
  • The system is expected to curl northeast and then east in the new week ahead, thanks to a sharp southward dip in the jet stream over the north Atlantic.
  • Fred has a brief window of opportunity early this week to regain tropical storm status, before weakening again.
  • Fred is no immediate threat to land, but may move south of the Azores Islands by the middle or end of this upcoming week.
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