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Tropical Storm Kyle Forms, Unlikely to Affect Land

Climate
Tropical Storm Kyle Forms, Unlikely to Affect Land
Visible satellite image of Tropical Storm Kyle and Tropical Storm Josephine as of 9:10 a.m. EDT Saturday, August 15, 2020. RAMMB / CIRA / Colorado State University

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

The record-busy 2020 Atlantic hurricane season brought another addition to its bevy of early-season storms at 5 p.m. EDT August 14, when Tropical Storm Kyle formed off the coast of Maryland.


Kyle arrived well ahead of the previous earliest appearance by the Atlantic season's eleventh named storm – Katrina on August 24, 2005. Seven other Atlantic storms have set similar records during this already-hyperactive 2020 season.

However, the majority of 2020's impressive herd of early-season storms have been short-lived; only two made it to category 1 hurricane strength. As a result, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy, or ACE – a measure of the total destructive power of a hurricane season – has been unusually low for the first 10 storms of a season, according to statistics tweeted by Sam Lillo:

Notwithstanding its historic timing, Kyle is not expected to bring major impacts to land. As of 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Kyle was located 280 miles southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, moving east-northeast at 21 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph.

Kyle was over the Gulf Stream, where waters were a record-warm 27-28 degrees Celsius (81-82°F), which is about 2 degrees Celsius (3.6°F) above average. Satellite images showed that high wind shear resulting from strong upper-level winds out of the southwest were keeping the low-level center exposed to view, and all of Kyle's heavy thunderstorms were confined to the east side of the center. High wind shear will affect Kyle throughout the weekend, and it is unlikely that the storm will become a hurricane.

Well-defined steering currents will take Kyle rapidly to the east-northeast over the weekend, and Kyle's winds and rain are not expected to impact any land areas. By Monday, Kyle will leave the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and move over cold waters, bringing an end to its brief life as an inconsequential tropical storm.

Tropical Storm Josephine Also No Threat to Land

Meanwhile, the season's record-earliest tenth named storm, Tropical Storm Josephine, was also struggling with high wind shear as it traced out a path over the open ocean.

At 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Josephine was located about 310 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph. Josephine is expected to bring one to three inches of rain over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. Josephine will encounter steadily rising wind shear through Monday, peaking at a very high 30 – 35 knots. This high shear is likely to destroy Josephine's circulation by Monday, before the storm can affect any other land areas.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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