Hurricane center tracks system near Florida as Hurricane Sam, Tropical Depression Victor lose strength

·3 min read

Hurricane Sam devolved from a major hurricane Sunday after spending more than a week over Category 3 status. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Victor continued to fall apart, but the National Hurricane Center began investigating a system closer to Florida.

Located over the southeastern Bahamas near southwestern Atlantic waters is a large area of disorganized cloudiness and showers associated with a surface trough that could form into the next tropical depression or storm, according to the 5 a.m. update from the NHC.

“Upper-level winds are expected to be only marginally conducive, and any development of this system should be slow to occur while it moves west-northwestward at around 10 mph through Monday, followed by a slow northwestward motion through the end of the week,” forecasters said.

The system has only a 20% chance of forming in the next five days.

If it were to spin up into a system with 39 mph sustained winds or greater, it would become Tropical Storm Wanda, the last name of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season list before the NHC would move to a second alphabet.

Only 2005 and the record-breaking 2020 had to use more than 21 names in a single hurricane season.

Farther from home but still affecting Florida’s shores is Hurricane Sam, which after 7 3/4 days with winds of more than 105 mph, finally died down overnight. The hurricane twice last week reached sustained wind speeds of 150 mph, making it tied with this season’s Hurricane Ida for the strongest storm.

The long-lasting major hurricane is tied for fourth for the most consecutive days since the satellite era began in 1966, according to hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University.

It had maintained Category 3 through the 11 p.m. NHC advisory Saturday but dropped to 100 mph Sunday afternoon.

Monday morning winds bumped up to 105 mph.

“Gradual weakening is forecast during the next few days, and Sam is expected to transition into a powerful post-tropical cyclone by late Monday,” forecasters said.

It’s located about 465 miles south of Newfoundland, moving east-northeast at an impressively fast 30 mph.

While more than 1,500 miles from the coast of Florida, the threat of heavy surf that has been traveling across the Atlantic in the last week remains.

Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue continued to fly the red flag for dangerous surf conditions. It performed 11 rescues Sunday.

Farther east in the Atlantic, what is now Tropical Depression Victor is continuing to fall apart.

It’s now located about 1,300 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, moving northwest at 14 mph with sustained winds of 30 mph.

“Gradual weakening is expected during the next couple of days, and Victor is forecast to degenerate to a remnant low by Monday and dissipate soon thereafter,” forecasters said.

Victor is the 20th named system of the busy 2021 season with just under two months to go.

The hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

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