MIAMI — Tropical Storm Teddy formed in the busy Atlantic early Monday and was expected to "become a powerful hurricane" later this week, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A new tropical depression, the 21st of the season, has also formed in the far eastern Atlantic and was expected to be short-lived, according to the hurricane center. Counting Teddy and Tropical Depression 21, the Atlantic is churning with seven systems, including Tropical Storm Sally, Hurricane Paulette, Tropical Depression Rene and two disturbances.
Tropical Storm Teddy was about 1,110 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands and about 1,405 miles east of the Lesser Antilles early Monday. It's moving west-northwest near 14 mph with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph with higher gusts. The forecast shows Teddy making a turn toward the mid-west by mid-week.
Forecasters said the warm water, which is a few degrees hotter than average this year, is expected to help Teddy hit major hurricane-level strength, possibly a Category 3, by mid-week.
"Some of the dynamical hurricane models continue to indicate that Teddy could strengthen faster than that, but I can't bear to make that forecast at this time," Forecaster Stewart wrote in Monday's 5 a.m. advisory.
Large swells generated by Teddy are expected to reach the Lesser Antilles and the northeastern coast of South America Wednesday and will likely cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, according to forecasters.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect at this time.
Teddy is the earliest 19th named storm of the season, beating the unnamed tropical storm recorded on October 4, 2005, according to the hurricane center.
HURRICANE PAULETTE'S EYE CROSSING BERMUDA
As of 8 a.m. Monday, Hurricane Paulette's eye was moving away from Bermuda, and the storm was 1 mph away from category 2 strength, according to the hurricane center.
"The eye of Paulette will gradually move away from Bermuda this morning, with hurricane conditions returning within a couple of hours," forecasters wrote. "A prolonged period of strong winds, storm surge, and very heavy rainfall will likely continue into this afternoon."
Paulette's maximum sustained winds have increased to 95 mph with higher gusts and additional strengthening is expected when Paulette turns northeastward and moves away from Bermuda late Monday through Tuesday, according to the hurricane center.
The latest forecast showed Paulette becoming a category 3 storm Tuesday afternoon before gradually beginning to weaken.
While most of Paulette's strong winds have subsided due to Paulette's eye passing across the island, forecasters say its hurricane-force and tropical-storm-force winds will return when the southern portion of Paulette's eyewall passes over the island later Monday. The island remains under a hurricane warning and should expect to see heavy rain all day, possibly three to six inches.
"Hurricane conditions should subside around mid-morning, but tropical storm conditions will persist into late-morning and possibly early afternoon," forecasters wrote.
Paulette was also forecast to produce a dangerous storm surge, with significant coastal flooding in areas of onshore winds and large and destructive ways near Bermuda's coast. Paulette will bring periods of heavy rain to Bermuda through the day, with rainfall of three to six inches expected.
Paulette's swells are affecting portions of the Leeward Islands, the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the east coast of the United States and may cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, according to the hurricane center.
WILL TROPICAL STORM SALLY BECOME A HURRICANE?
Tropical Storm Sally is forecast to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane late Monday and is expected to produce life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and flash flooding along portions of the Northern Gulf coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters say hurricane and tropical storm conditions will likely begin Monday in the hurricane warning area from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border, including metropolitan New Orleans.
The storm is moving west-northwest at 8 mph and is about 115 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 165 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, according to the hurricane center. Its maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph with higher gusts and its tropical-storm force winds extend up to 125 miles from the center.
Sally is forecast to move over the north-central Gulf of Mexico, approach southeastern Louisiana Monday afternoon, and make landfall somewhere in the hurricane warning area from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border, including metropolitan New Orleans.
The storm is then expected to move slowly north-northeastward near the northern Gulf Coast through Wednesday.
However, forecasters are cautioning that it's still too early to determine where exactly Sally will make landfall because of uncertainty surrounding the timing and location of Sally's northward turn near the central Gulf Coast.
"Users should not focus on the details of the official forecast track, since NHC's average forecast error at 48 hours is around 80 miles, and dangerous storm surge, rainfall and wind hazards will extend well away from the center," forecasters wrote.
Forecasters say extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm surge conditions will be possible, particularly in the area from Port Fourchon, Lousiana to the Alabama/Florida border, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and Lake Borgne and Mobile Bay, which are all under a storm surge warning.
Sally could also continue producing flash flooding across central and northern Florida and prolong existing minor river flooding across west-central Florida through Monday, according to the hurricane center. Flooding impacts are expected to spread farther across the Southeast U.S. through the week.
NEW DEPRESSION FORMS
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, forecasters continue to track Rene, which was on the cusp of dissolving into a remnant low as of 5 a.m. It's hundreds of miles away from the nearest land and isn't expected to pose a threat.
Tropical Depression 21 also formed Monday morning at 8 a.m. The small and slow storm was tracking west, but forecasters called it "short-lived." The latest update showed the depression briefly strengthening into a tropical storm Monday night (potentially Tropical Storm Vicky) before weakening back into a depression.
The depression is located a couple of hundred miles ahead of a tropical wave that has yet to emerge off Africa's coast. Forecasters gave it a 10% chance of forming in the next two days and a 40% chance of forming within five days.
The hurricane center said another low-pressure system in the southwest Gulf of Mexico is no longer expected to develop into anything stronger.
The next two storm names on the list are Vicky and Wilfred. After that, storms will be named after Greek letters.