Tropical Storm Amanda Expected To Become Hurricane Soon, First Of Season

Tropical Storm Amanda is kicking off the eastern Pacific 2014 hurricane season as the first named storm of the year, but weather forecasters say the storm isn’t a threat to land.

The National Hurricane Center has forecasted that Tropical Storm Amanda will reach hurricane status in the next two days. But it will be moving slowly — at about 5 miles per hour — and away from land, they believe.

“After 48 hours, a combination of increasing shear caused by the approaching trough and decreasing sea surface temperatures along the forecast track should cause steady to rapid weakening,” noted hurricane specialist Robbie Berg in a discussion message, “The new intensity forecast is a little stronger than the previous forecast through 48 hours, and after that it shows a faster weakening than the previous forecast.”

Maximum winds from Tropical Storm Amanda are expected to reach 65 miles per hour soon and the system is expected to gradually grow into a hurricane.

While the Pacific hurricane season is generally light — storms rarely make landfall, instead tracking outward away from Mexico and California — the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be active. Forecasters from the NOAA predict there will be between eight and 13 named tropical storms.

The NOAA expects between three and six of these storms to become hurricanes, with one or two measuring category 3 or higher.

Overall, the odds do not show a particularly active season, with the outcast calling for “a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.”

But forecasters noted that it only takes one storm to wreak havoc.

“Even though we expect El Niño to suppress the number of storms this season, it’s important to remember it takes only one land falling storm to cause a disaster,” noted Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA administrator.

By Sunday, Tropical Storm Amanda is expected to decrease in speed and take a turn toward the northwest, moving away from land.