Bermuda cancels tropical storm warning as Gert turns to the northeast

August 16th, 2011 - 1:12 am ICT by BNO News  

MIAMI (BNO NEWS) — The Bermuda Weather Service on Monday canceled a tropical storm warning for the British overseas territory after Tropical Storm Gert turned to the north-northeast, earlier than expected.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) have been following the weather system since early Friday morning when it emerged as an area of disturbed weather in association with a broad low pressure area about 800 miles (1287 kilometers) northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. It slowly strengthened and became a tropical depression on late Saturday, before strengthening into a tropical storm on Sunday afternoon.

As of 11 a.m. AST (1500 GMT) on Monday, the center of Gert was located about 95 miles (155 kilometers) east-southeast of Bermuda. It is moving towards the north at a speed near 12 miles (19 kilometers) per hour.

“On the forecast track, the center of Gert is expected to pass well to the east of Bermuda later today,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart. “The Bermuda Weather Service has discontinued the tropical storm warning for Bermuda.”

Meanwhile, maximum sustained winds of Gert have strengthened to near 60 miles (95 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts. “Some further intensification of Gert is possible during the next 24 hours as the cyclone remains over relatively warm water and beneath an upper-level anticyclone,” Stewart said. “However, Gert is a smaller than average size tropical cyclone, which means it will be susceptible to intrusions of dry air and slight increases in vertical shear. As a result, the intensity forecast is being held just below hurricane strength.”

But while strengthening is expected throughout Monday, Gert is expected to start weakening on Tuesday. “By 24 hours, Gert will be moving over sea-surface temperatures cooler than 26 Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit), and over water cooler than 20 Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) by 48 hours hours,” Stewart explained. “As a result, gradual weakening is expected after 24 hours and extratropical transition is expected to occur by 48 hours when the cyclone begins to merge with a frontal system and also begins to feel the effects of strong southwesterly upper-level wind shear.”

After passing Bermuda on Monday, Gert is expected to further turn towards the northeast. “This system, which will likely become post-tropical storm Gert before reaching Canadian waters, is expected to pass well offshore of Newfoundland late Tuesday or early Wednesday,” the Canadian Hurricane Center said regarding any potential threat to Canada. “At this time no impacts are expected over any Canadian land areas. Rain and southeast winds are likely over Newfoundland on Tuesday from an unrelated weather system.”

However, the Newfoundland and Labrador weather office has issued gale warnings for the southern Grand Banks of Newfoundland for Tuesday evening as Gert is expected to be just entering Canadian waters at that time. “Gales or storm force winds are possible near Gert’s track across the southern Grand Banks later Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning,” the Canadian Hurricane Center said. “Note that by this time Gert will be interacting with an unrelated large scale weather system over Newfoundland which will eventually absorb the much smaller tropical or post-tropical system.”

Gert is the seventh named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, following Tropical Storm Franklin which formed near the east coast of the United States on August 12. It affected no land and lost tropical cyclone characteristics over the north Atlantic on Saturday evening.

According to figures released earlier this month, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is expecting an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. The outlook calls for 14 to 19 named storms, with seven to ten becoming hurricanes and three to five expected to become a major hurricane (category 3 or higher).

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with peak activity in September.

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