Tropical Storm Peter to Pass Northeastern Caribbean

The 16th named storm of the 2021 season is not expected to affect the United States directly, a meteorologist said.

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Tropical Storm Peter, one of three named storms that have formed in recent days, is expected to bring up to three inches of rain to parts of the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, through Tuesday, but is otherwise not expected to affect the United States directly, forecasters said.

As of 11 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, the storm was about 170 miles east-northeast of the northeastern Caribbean and moving west-northwest at 15 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm was forecast to weaken in the coming days.

Peter, the 16th named storm of the busy 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, formed on Sunday, the same day that Tropical Storm Rose formed off the west coast of Africa. Tropical Storm Odette, which swirled to life on Friday off the Mid-Atlantic coast, was quickly downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone.

“We are fortunate right now that both Rose and Peter will have no direct impact on the U.S.,” Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist at the hurricane center, said on Monday. But he added that it was too early to say whether swells from the storms would reach the United States.

Meteorologists have faced a dizzying several months as the arrival of peak hurricane season — August through November — has produced a run of named storms in quick succession, bringing stormy weather, flooding and damaging winds to parts of the United States and the Caribbean.

Hurricane Nicholas made landfall on Sept. 14 along the Gulf Coast of Texas, unleashing heavy rain across parts of Louisiana, which had been battered two weeks before by Hurricane Ida, which later brought deadly flooding to the New York area.

Tropical Storm Mindy hit the Florida Panhandle on Sept. 8, just hours after it formed in the Gulf of Mexico. At the same time, a powerful Hurricane Larry was churning in the Atlantic.

In mid-August, Tropical Storm Fred made landfall in the Florida Panhandle and Hurricane Grace hit Haiti and Mexico. Tropical Storm Henri knocked out power and brought record rainfall to the Northeastern United States on Aug. 22.

How to Decode Hurricane Season Terms

Karen Zraick and Christina CaronReporting on the weather ?

How to Decode Hurricane Season Terms

Karen Zraick and Christina CaronReporting on the weather ?

Emily Kask for The New York Times

What is “landfall”? And what are you truly facing when you’re in the eye of the storm?

During hurricane season, news coverage and forecasts can include a host of confusing terms. Let’s take a look at what they mean ->

How to Decode Hurricane Season Terms

Karen Zraick and Christina CaronReporting on the weather ?

You may read about hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones. So what’s the difference? Location.

“Hurricane” is largely used in the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific; “typhoon,” in the Northwest Pacific; and “cyclone” in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

The Atlantic season, when hurricanes and tropical storms are most likely to hit the U.S., runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

How to Decode Hurricane Season Terms

Karen Zraick and Christina CaronReporting on the weather ?

NOAA

Here’s what all these storms have in common: They’re low-pressure circular systems that form over warm waters. A system becomes a tropical storm when its winds exceed 39 miles an hour. At 74 miles an hour, it’s a hurricane.

How to Decode Hurricane Season Terms

Karen Zraick and Christina CaronReporting on the weather ?

Forecasters regularly talk about parts of the storm like the eye, the eyewall and the wall cloud:

The eye of a storm is the circular area of relatively light winds, even shining sun, at its center. Conditions may be calm within the eye.

But wrapped around it is the eyewall, a ring of cumulonimbus clouds also known as a wall cloud. It contains the strongest winds of a hurricane.

How to Decode Hurricane Season Terms

Karen Zraick and Christina CaronReporting on the weather ?

Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Perhaps counterintuitively, a storm doesn’t make landfall when its outer edge meets land.

Instead, landfall is when the eye crosses the shoreline.

Aug. 18, 2021

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The links between hurricanes and climate change are becoming more apparent. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time, and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms. But the overall number of storms could drop, because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.

Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because of more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere; scientists have suggested storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced far more rain than it would have without the human effects on climate. Rising sea levels are also contributing to higher storm surge — the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.

A major United Nations climate report released in August warned that nations have delayed curbing their fossil-fuel emissions for so long that they can no longer stop global warming from intensifying over the next 30 years, leading to more frequent life-threatening heat waves and severe droughts. Tropical cyclones have likely become more intense over the past 40 years, the report said, a shift that cannot be explained by natural variability alone.

Ana became the first named storm of the season on May 22, making this the seventh year in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of hurricane season on June 1.

In May, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast that there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year, six to 10 of which would be hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher in the Atlantic. In early August, in a midseason update to the forecast, scientists continued to warn that this year’s hurricane season would be an above average one, suggesting a busy end to the season.

NOAA updated its forecast on Aug. 4, predicting 15 to 21 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes, by the end of the season on Nov. 30. Peter is the 16th named storm of 2021.

“We’re still in the peak of the season,” Mr. Feltgen said on Monday. “We still have a good two and a half months to go. We’ve got a long way, so stay prepared.”

Last year, there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, forcing meteorologists to exhaust the alphabet for the second time and use Greek letters.

It was the highest number of storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and included the second-highest number of hurricanes on record.

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