Hurricane Gordon Takes Aim At The Azores

Tropical Storm Gordon strengthened rapidly during Saturday to become a Category 2 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. A hurricane alert has been put in place for The Azores where the Hurricane is expected to hit on Sunday night.

At 11 p.m. GMT the centre of Hurricane Gordon, the seventh named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season, was located 590 m (950 km) wsw of the Azores. It was moving toward the east near 21 mph (33 km/h).

A turn toward the east-northeast is expected by early Sunday. On the forecast track, the centre of Gordon will approach the eastern Azores on Sunday night.

Presently, hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the centre and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 969 mb.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 105 mph (165 km/h), with higher gusts. Gordon is a category two hurricane. Weakening is forecast to begin on Sunday but Gordon is still expected to be near hurricane strength as it passes near the eastern Azores Sunday night and Monday. 

Gordon is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches over the Azores. Swells generated by Gordon are expected to reach the central and eastern Azores on Sunday causing dangerous surf and rip current conditions.
The calm before the storm. The Azores pictured from space by the MODIS satellite at 1pm on Saturday. Click on image to enlarge.

Senior Hurricane Specialist with the US-based National Hurricane Center, Michael Brennan said on Saturday night: “The intensification of Gordon has continued over the past few hours as the eye has cleared and warmed and cloud tops have cooled around the centre.  Gordon should be near its peak intensity as the cyclone will be crossing the 26c isotherm in the next 12 hours and steady weakening is expected to begin after that time.  A shortwave trough will begin to interact with Gordon in 36 to 48 hours and the cyclone should be extratropical by 72 hours if not a little sooner. Rapid weakening is expected after 48 hours as the shear increases markedly and the global models show the low and mid-level circulations decoupling. The cyclone is expected to dissipate by the end of the forecast period.”

Gordon is expected to become a post tropical system before it reaches the Iberian Peninsula. Image