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Subtropical Don formed in the Atlantic early on Friday. No land impacts expected.

July 14, 2023

Subtropical Storm Don formed over the Atlantic Ocean early on Friday morning. This fifth storm of 2023, and fourth named storm of the season, will likely remain over the open waters of the Atlantic, posing no threat to land.

Officials at the National Hurricane Center in Miami announced early on Friday morning that an area of low pressure centered over 1000 miles west of the Azores had developed enough to be classified as a subtropical storm. Its name: Don.

As of 11 AM Friday, Don remained a relatively weak subtropical storm. Sustained winds were 45 mph, which is the lower threshold for tropical/subtropical storm classification on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. Although a cloud shield surrounded the core of low pressure around Don, satellite imagery indicated that thunderstorm activity was limited to a few clusters of storms well east of the storm’s center. An envelope of dry air bordered Don’s western edge, and this feature will likely continue to limit thunderstorm activity west of the storm’s center.

Forecast guidance suggests that Don will remain over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and that environmental conditions will make it challenging for the storm to survive. The latest outlook from meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center states that Don could weaken into a post tropical cyclone as early as this weekend. Regardless of Don’s lifespan, the storm will remain well east of North America, and poses no threats to mainland interests.

Don is the fourth named storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, and the fifth storm for the season as a total. The first official storm of 2023 developed over the subtropical waters of the Atlantic in January. Six months later, during June 2023, Arlene, Bret, and Cindy all developed into tropical storms.

According to the most recent forecast guidance, the remainder of the hurricane season will likely be marked by above average activity. Although wind shear, which can inhibit storm organization, is forecasted to increase over the tropical Atlantic thanks to a developing El Niño, it will likely not be strong enough to offset the effects of well above average sea surface temperatures. Satellite and observational data indicate that temperatures in the main development region of the Atlantic range between one and three degrees above climatological averages. Should this trend continue, ample fuel will be in place to sustain and amplify tropical systems that may begin developing.

For the time being, no other activity is expected in the Atlantic over the next seven days. Interests along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic seaboard are encouraged to review their disaster preparedness plans so that their families and properties are ready for any hazardous weather that may develop later this season.

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Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
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