The Atlantic hurricane season of 2022 has found momentum.
Following a slow start, Hurricane Fiona has strengthened right into a Category 4 storm after knocking out power grids across Puerto Rico earlier this week. Meteorologists may also be monitoring Tropical Storm Gaston and three the areas of low air pressure that may become cyclones within the next couple of days.
All five of the regions of meteorological concern are visible within a image captured Thursday (Sept. 22) by the GOES 16 meteorological satellite from its vantage point 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earth.
Hurricane Fiona, the initial major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic season, formed west of Barbados and Martinique in mid-September and quickly found energy since it tracked westward above the warm Caribbean waters. Fiona reached hurricane status on Sunday (Sept. 19), when it battered Puerto Rico. After that it continued to strengthen since it moved on the Dominican Republic, discharging torrential rains and unleashing powerful winds.
A night-time image shared on Twitter (opens in new tab) by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Thursday, and taken earlier that day by the NOAA 20 satellite, revealed Puerto Rico still mostly in darkness three days after Fiona’s passage, hinting at the scale of the energy grid damage.
Fiona reached the intensity of a Category 4 hurricane on Thursday (Sept. 22) with sustained wind speeds of 130 mph (215 kph) and maximum gusts of wind of 160 mph (259 kph) in accordance with Accuweather. The storm happens to be moving northward toward Bermuda, and is likely to skirt the hawaiian islands down the road Thursday night or early Friday morning.
Fiona will continue its northbound journey at a safe distance from the U.S. East Coast, but can make landfall in eastern Canada this weekend as a Category 2 hurricane with sustained wind speeds of 100 mph (157 kph) and maximum gusts of wind of 121 mph (195 kph).
The Atlantic hurricane season of 2022 had an unusually slow start. It had no named tropical storms forming above the ocean’s waters through the entire month of August for the very first time in 25 years. But activity found at the start of September. Along with Fiona, tropical storm Gaston happens to be raising waves in the northern elements of central Atlantic. The storm will not pose any threat to inhabited territories later on.
However, a location of low air pressure just north of the coast of Venezuela includes a 70% potential for strengthening right into a cyclone within the next 48 hours, in accordance with NOAA (opens in new tab). This cloud system is relocating the western/northwestern direction toward the central Caribbean and potentially the Gulf coast of florida. Meteorologists may also be monitoring two other, weaker regions of low air pressure: One off the east coast of central Africa and another in the central tropical Atlantic Ocean.