BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday, September 4, 2012 – The United States National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Leslie and those in Bermuda are being advised to monitor the progress of the storm over the next few days as it gains intensity as it churns toward them.
The tropical storm is passing north east of the Lesser Antilles but over the next few days could bring life-threatening surf and rip currents to all northern Caribbean islands including Bahamas, Bermuda, and the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 178 nautical miles from the centre were clocked over the weekend generating swells that affected Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The timing of Tropical Storm Leslie makes it the second earliest formation of a 12th named storm during the Atlantic hurricane season, one day behind Luis of 1995, which formed on August 31 that year.
An average Atlantic hurricane season is expected to only produce 11 named storms, so Leslie as the 12th named storm has marked the transition into an above-average season
Experts say the peak of hurricane season will occur in about a week. While predictions had been for an abrupt shutdown to the season by early to mid October with the advent of El Nino, given that El Nino has been very slow to develop, and may never develop at all, the season could see two to four storms between October and November. Should this extended activity occur, this hurricane seas could experience as many as 20 storms, despite the relatively short duration of some of the storms that have formed so far.
Already, a small low pressure system has also developed northwest of the Cape Verde Islands with a medium chance, about 30 percent, of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.