Hurricane Danielle Swirls Over Central Atlantic Ocean

MIAMI, Florida, August 23, 2010 (ENS) – Tropical Storm Danielle formed this weekend over the central Atlantic Ocean and strengthened into a hurricane Monday afternoon.

Danielle is a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, blowing maximum sustained winds of near 85 miles per hour with higher gusts.

The storm will gain strength rapidly over the next several days and could become the season’s first major hurricane by late Tuesday, according to meteorologists with the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

A hurricane is considered “major” if it is at least a Category 3 with winds from 111 to 130 miles per hour.

If that prediction is borne out by events, Danielle would become the first major hurricane of the season for the Atlantic Basin.

Now located roughly midway between Cape Verde and the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, Danielle is moving toward the west-northwest near 20 miles per hour. A turn toward the northwest is expected by late Tuesday.

The storm is heading straight for Bermuda and could reach the island nation by Saturday. West of Bermuda, Danielle is aimed at the central Atlantic seaboard.

Meteorologists forecast that Danielle will continue moving over warm waters this week, while strong winds high in the atmosphere decrease.

Both of these factors indicate greater intensity and Danielle is predicted to become a Category 2 hurricane with winds of at least 96 miles per hour by Tuesday.

Currently, there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

Government, commercial, and amateur forecasters have all predicted a very active Atlantic hurricane season in 2010.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2010. All rights reserved.

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