Atlantic Storm Gordon Could Become Hurricane This Weekend

Tropical Storm Gordon (circled) on Thursday morning. Image NOAA

The U.S. National Hurricane Centre (NHC) has said that a tropical storm that formed overnight in the mid-Atlantic could become a hurricane over the weekend as it tracks toward southern Europe and North Africa.

Tropical Storm Gordon, the seventh Atlantic Tropical Storm of 2012, is currently located 2600 km west of The Azores. Maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h have been recorded. The storm is presently moving north-northeast at 22 km/h.

Eric Blake, Hurricane Specialist at the National Hurricane Center said: "At 10 a.m. GMT, the centre of tropical storm Gordon was located near latitude 32.2 north, longitude 54.8 west. Gordon is moving toward the north-northeast near 14 mph (22 km/h).  A gradual turn toward the northeast and then east is forecast.  This track will keep the cyclone moving over the open waters of the north Atlantic for the next two days.”

“Satellite images suggest that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph...65 km/h, with higher gusts.  Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Gordon could become a hurricane over the weekend," added Mr. Blake.

It is unlikely that the system will have a direct impact on Ireland and the UK. The latest GFS Model output, as illustrated below by, shows Gordon pushing slowly northeastwards toward the coast of Portugal on Tuesday.

Ironically, Hurricane Gordon in 2006 was the first tropical cyclone since 1992 to affect the Azores while retaining tropical characteristics. The eighth tropical storm, third hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, Gordon formed on September 10 in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It gradually matured into a hurricane as it tracked northward, reaching its peak intensity with winds of 120 mph (195 km/h) early on September 14 while located about 575 mi (925 km) southeast of Bermuda. After becoming nearly stationary, Gordon weakened to minimal hurricane status, although it re-intensified after accelerating to the east. It weakened again after moving over cooler waters, and passed through the Azores on September 20. Shortly thereafter, it became an extratropical cyclone and subsequently affected Spain, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Thew newly formed Tropical Storm Gordon is a small cyclone.  Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to only 25 miles...35 km, mainly to the east of the centre. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1011 mb...29.85 inches.