Hurricane Danny Becomes The First Major Hurricane Of The 2015 Atlantic Season

Hurricane Danny has become the first hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season on Thursday, strengthening from a tropical storm, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, forecasters have been monitoring Danny as the storm strengthened.

Although the storm, currently located about 1,100 miles east of the Windward Islands, remains relatively small and weak, winds from Danny were gusting up to 75 miles per hour (120 kph), which brings the depression to hurricane status of at least 74 mph (119 kph) winds.

However, with hurricane-force winds extending only 10 miles from the eye of the storm, it is really “just a small tropical cyclone,” the center said.

According to Reuters, forecasters believe Danny could weaken back into a tropical storm before reaching Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Hurricane Danny, the fourth named storm of the 2015 hurricane season, is a Category 1 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity. No hurricane watches or warnings have been issued and Hurricane Danny is not expected to threaten land until early next week, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The 2015 Hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, is expected to be weaker than usual, with U.S. government projections calling for only six-to-10 named storms and possibly only four reaching hurricane status and one developing into a major hurricane, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The predicted weaker season is being blamed on the El Niño weather pattern, which has been called the “Godzilla El Niño” by some.

Despite a prediction of fewer and weaker hurricanes, forecasters warn that below-average years in the past have seen some of the most destructive storms in history, including Hurricane Andrew in 1992, a Category 5 hurricane that devastated south Florida.

According to NASA, the National Hurricane Center noted the position of the hurricane.

“Hurricane Danny is moving toward the west-northwest near 12 mph (19 kph) and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. Danny’s maximum sustained winds had increased to near 75 mph (120 kph) with higher gusts.”

The NHC forecast expects some additional strengthening during the next two days. The long-term fate of Hurricane Danny is unclear at this point, but forecasters will be keeping their eyes on the storm as it makes its westerly march across the Atlantic.

[Image via Twitter/NOAA Satellites]