Tropical Storm Josephine forms in Atlantic; earliest ‘J’ named storm on record

Tracking the Tropics

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Tropical Depression 11 has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Josephine, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. update on Thursday.

Josephine is the earliest “J” named storm on record by almost two weeks, breaking the previous record date of Aug. 22 by Jose in 2005.

NHC originally forecast for Josephine to form on Tuesday but the system failed to strengthen enough.

As of 5 a.m. Friday, Josephine is still 680 miles east-southeast of the Northern Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

The storm is moving west-northwest at 17 mph.

Tropical Storm Josephine is expected to continue on a west to west-northwest track through the rest of the week and should pass to the northeast of the Leeward Islands this weekend.

The storm is being steered by a large area of high pressure off to its north. This high should weaken this weekend to allow more of a turn to the northwest that will take the storm away from Puerto Rico.

Intensity of Josephine as it moves west continues to remain a question.

The storm is currently experiencing some wind shear and dry air that has made it struggle to maintain thunderstorms around its center and intensify.

The shear and dry air are forecast to lessen to allow Josephine to strengthen this weekend before environmental conditions worsen. Some strengthening is possible over the next 24 hours before Josephine is forecast to weaken heading into next week.

At this point, the storm does not appear likely to impact the East Coast or any land areas during its lifetime.

Last week, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said atmospheric and oceanic conditions are in line for an “extremely active” hurricane season.

“Historically, only two named storms form on average by early August, and the ninth named storm typically does not form until October 4,” NOAA said.

NOAA releases a prediction for the season in May and then updates it in August.

The updated forecast says 19-25 named storms are possible.

Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.


The remaining 2020 Atlantic tropical cyclone names:

  • Josephine
  • Kyle
  • Laura
  • Marco
  • Nana
  • Omar
  • Paulette
  • Rene
  • Sally
  • Teddy
  • Vicky
  • Wilfred

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