Tropical Storm Bill roars off Carolina coast as hurricane season awakens in the Atlantic Basin

Story Highlights

  • Tropical Storm Bill is the second named storm of the 2021 season, which forecasters have predicted will be an active one.
  • Bill is located southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and appears unlikely to cause significant damage.
  • Forecasters are monitoring three areas with a "chance of development" this week.

Tropical Storm Bill was churning off the East Coast on Tuesday, the second named storm in a nascent hurricane season that forecasters have warned could be a rager.

Bill marks only the eighth time in more than 70 years that two named storms developed this early in the season, tweeted Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University.

The good news: Bill was roaring 240 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and appeared unlikely to cause significant damage. The storm was moving to the northeast at 31 mph, the National Weather Service said early Tuesday.

The system is forecast to become a post-tropical low by tonight and dissipate on Wednesday, and there were no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

Still, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said shipping and fishing could be affected and rough surf may occur in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Pydynowski said the warm waters of the Gulf Stream nurtured the system over the last few days, helping it strengthen into a tropical storm.

The projected path of Tropical Storm Bill as of 5 a.m. June 15, 2021. (Photo: GRAPHIC CONTRIBUTED BY NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER)

“As the system moves farther to the northeast, progressively colder waters beneath it will lead to its demise,” Pydynowski said.

The storm developed two weeks into the hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30. The first storm of the season, Ana, actually kickstarted the season a bit early, forming just northeast of Bermuda in late May. Ana had a brief life span over the the Atlantic.

The Atlantic hurricane season usually peaks in August and September, but Klotzbach noted that forecasters were monitoring three areas with a “chance of development” this week, making the map look “more like one I would expect to see in September than in June!”

Accuweather said that one or two more systems may gain sufficient strength to claim names by month’s end. The next two names on the list of tropical storms for 2021 re Claudette and Danny.

Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 13 to 19 named tropical storms would spin up, of which six to 10 would be hurricanes. That forecast turned out to be optimistic, however, as a record 30 named storms formed, including 14 hurricanes, of which seven were “major,” with wind speeds of 111 mph or higher.

NOAA predicts another busy hurricane season: Up to 20 named storms possible

Tropical depression forms off North Carolina, could strengthen to Tropical Storm Bill

This season could bring a record sixth consecutive year of above-normal activity as the federal government expects another active season. NOAA said up to 20 named storms will develop, starting with tropical storms driving wind speeds of 39 mph or higher. Storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph.

As many as 10 hurricanes could form, NOAA said, with three to five possibly major hurricanes. An average season typically spawns seven hurricanes and peaks in August and September.

Contributing: Megan Kearney, Naples Daily News

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