Tropical Storm Sebastien meanders over open Atlantic

Alex Sosnowski

With less than half a month left of the Atlantic hurricane season, an area of disturbed weather over the central Atlantic developed into Tropical Storm Sebastien on Tuesday.

Satellite images show a fairly well-defined area of clouds over the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean.

This image, taken early Thursday morning, Nov. 21, 2019, shows Tropical Storm Sebastien to the northeast of the Leeward Islands. (NOAA/GOES-East)

"Sebastien will be fighting wind shear this week, but there is a short window where some strengthening can take place early on," Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather's top hurricane expert, said.

"The window for strengthening is likely to close as a cold front approaches from the west, overtakes Sebastien and causes it to weaken during the middle to latter part of this week," Kottlowski added.

The system could briefly become a hurricane before the end of the week. If so, it would be the seventh Atlantic hurricane of the season and the first "S" hurricane since Sandy in 2012.

The system is not expected to be a direct threat to the Lesser Antilles, but breezy conditions and locally rough surf can affect the north- and east-facing shoreline of the Leeward Islands for a time into Wednesday.

"Sebastien is moving around the western part of a large area of high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean," Kottlowski said.

The high pressure area will allow Sebastien to take a curved path to the northwest, north and then the northeast this week as it interacts with the cold front. This track should take the system out over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

This development has squeaked out ahead of the end of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially comes to a close on Nov. 30.

There are a couple of other weak disturbances over the tropical Atlantic, but neither of these show much sign of development in the short term.

Including Sebastien, there have been 20 depressions, 18 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

AccuWeather predicted 12-14 tropical storms, five to seven hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes back in early April.

AccuWeather meteorologists cautioned back in the spring that a weakening El Niño could contribute to slightly higher numbers of tropical storms than originally forecast and a somewhat end-loaded season over the Atlantic.

The Atlantic has spawned one tropical depression, four tropical storms and one hurricane since the middle of October.

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