Third tropical storm swirling in the Atlantic; Florence, Helen to become hurricanes today

KINGSTON, Jamaica — A third tropical storm has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

The Meteorological Service of Jamaica said at 4:00 am Sunday, Tropical Storm Isaac was centred about 2,475 kilometers east of the Windward Islands.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect at this time, but Met Service said strengthening is forecast during the next few days and Isaac is expected to become a hurricane by Monday.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds remain near 85 km/h with higher gusts and it is moving west near 15 km/h.

Meanwhile, the two other tropical storms in the Atlantic — Florence and Helen — are expected to become hurricanes today.

At 4:00 am, the centre of Florence was located 1235 km southeast of Bermuda, while the outer bands of Helen were moving across the Southernmost Cabo Verde Islands. That storm was centred 185 km south southeast of the islands.

Florence is moving toward the west near 9 km/h, and this general motion is expected to continue today. A west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected by Monday, and that motion is forecast to continue through mid-week, Met Service said.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the southeastern US coast on Thursday.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds are near 110 km/h with higher gusts. Forecasters said rapid intensification is likely to begin by tonight and Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday.

At the same time, the Met Service said Helene is moving towards the west near 22 km/h, and this motion is expected to continue through today. A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast to occur by Monday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 km/h with higher gusts and additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days.

Met Service said neither of the storms are a threat to Jamaica.

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