Tropical Storm Bill forms off Carolina coast

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Bill, the second named storm of 2021, formed from a tropical depression located off the coast of North Carolina late Monday night.

As of 11 p.m. Monday, the center of Tropical Storm Bill was located near latitude 36.7 North, longitude 69.8 West. Bill was moving toward the northeast near 23 mph, and was expected to keep that general motion through Wednesday with increasing forward speed.

Satellite-derived wind data indicated that the maximum sustained winds increased to nearly 45 mph with higher gusts. Some additional strengthening is possible on Tuesday, however the system is expected to become a post-tropical low and dissipate on Wednesday. Tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 70 miles from the center.

“Warm waters of the Gulf Stream have nurtured the system this past weekend and may continue to do so long enough in the short term for tropical storm generation,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said earlier on Monday.

The forecast path tracks to the northeast away from the U.S. and then off toward Nova Scotia by Wednesday. It is not expected to develop further after that, experts said.

Tropical Storm Ana, the first named storm of 2021 developed in late May, several hundred miles from Bermuda.

A second system, nestled in the Bay of Campeche off Mexico’s east coast, is also being monitored for potential storm development.

The large trough of low pressure in the Gulf is forecast to morph into a tropical storm later this week as it moves across the central or northwestern Gulf. It could bring heavy rainfall to the U.S. Gulf Coast on Friday, experts said.

Water temperatures in the Gulf are above 80 degrees, which is conducive for storm development. But storm-shredding wind shear is also present.

“The potential exists later on this week for a brief window of relaxed wind shear across the central Gulf of Mexico, possibly providing a narrow time frame conducive for intensification,” according to AccuWeather.

The disturbance has a 70% chance of formation in the next five days, according to the hurricane center. It had low odds of developing in the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, a tropical wave formed Monday off the coast of Africa. Its development is likely to be hindered by wind shear.

Clouds of Saharan dust from Africa routinely drift over the Atlantic Ocean. These plumes of dry air can slow the development of storms by starving them of the moisture they need to become hurricanes. A layer of the dust is moving over the southern Caribbean this week, according to AccuWeather.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a busy hurricane season this year, estimating between 13 and 20 named storms.

Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

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