• Bryan Norcross

Victor slowly intensifies near Africa as powerful Sam heads north

The disturbance we’ve been following on the far side of the Atlantic evolved into Tropical Storm Victor yesterday – the 20th named storm of the 2021 hurricane season. It’s interesting for historical reasons, but there’s no concern it will affect land.


This is the fourth time in the history book that we’ve had 20 named storms in one season – and September isn’t even over. Part of the difference is that we can better detect and measure storms these days. But the overall atmospheric pattern combined with the warm ocean has certainly been a conducive environment for systems to spin up.


Is this a trend for the future? That’s an open question.



Victor formed unusually far south in the tropical Atlantic. In fact, only Kirk in 2018 formed at a lower latitude. The farther south a system forms, the less effect the spinning of the earth has on getting the circulation going. That means the atmospheric conditions have to be perfect for a significant system to spin up.


Even though Victor will plow into dusty air, it is forecast to reach hurricane strength late in the week. Next week the dry Saharan air and hostile upper winds should weaken the storm as it heads farther north.



Farther west, powerful Hurricane Sam is on track to pass Bermuda late Friday into early Saturday. Hurricane Hunters have found a well-developed hurricane all week, which is unusual. If it continues to be at Category 3 strength or higher into Saturday, it will join the small set of storms that have gone a week at that high intensity. Irma was the last one.


Thankfully, Sam has taken a path away from land. Although it will come close enough to Bermuda to cause gusty winds over the island. The local weather service has issued a Tropical Storm Watch indicating that gusts over 40 mph are possible.



What was Disturbance #1 in the tropical Atlantic appears to have given up as it drifts in the direction of the Caribbean islands. The computer forecast models no longer show much development over the next few days as it slowly tracks west at a very low latitude.


Elsewhere, there is nothing of concern into next week. It looks like the tropics might take a break.