Subtropical Storm Don formed in the North Atlantic early Friday, packing top sustained winds of 50 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
Don is the fourth named system of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. It is quite early for so many storms to form in the Atlantic. On average, the fourth named tropical system in the Atlantic forms around Aug. 15, the National Hurricane Center said.
But unusually warm ocean waters are expected to fuel a more active hurricane season, experts predict. Colorado State University'slatest forecast projects around 18 named storms this year, with nine of them becoming hurricanes and four becoming major hurricanes. An average year would have 14 named storms with seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
Although ocean waters are warm, which generally fuels hurricanes, a growing El Niño trend can increase vertical wind shear, which inhibits development.
"The extreme anomalous warmth in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic may counteract some of the typical El Niño-driven increase in vertical wind shear," forecasters said.
As of 5 a.m. ET Friday, Don was located 1,165 miles southwest of the Azores Islands. The storm was moving to the north at 6 mph, but forecasters expect it to turn to the east in the coming days.
The National Hurricane Center said it is likely Don is at its peak intensity as it's in a region not conducive for strengthening. Forecasters expect it to remain a tropical storm through Wednesday but not strengthen into a hurricane.
It is also not expected to impact land anytime soon directly.
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