Tropical Storm Igor Threatens to Become `Monster' as Season's Peak Looms

Igor, downgraded from a tropical storm to a depression off the Cape Verde Islands, is still forecast to strengthen into a hurricane as it moves across the Atlantic and may become a “monster,” forecasters said.

Igor, with sustained winds of 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour, was about 155 miles west-northwest of the islands and was moving northwest at 20 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 4:30 p.m. East Coast time.

It’s still expected to become a hurricane in three days, the center said.

“Igor is going to be a monster, it will live up to its name,” Joe Bastardi, chief hurricane forecaster for AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said today.

Tomorrow is the statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the hurricane center in Miami. In addition to Igor, forecasters are watching two other areas that have the potential to become storms, he said.

“Things could be hopping here in a few days,” Feltgen said.

From 1851 to 2009, there have been 86 active hurricanes on Sept. 10, Feltgen said.

“This is a very active season and September is the busiest month with October a close second,” Feltgen said. “We still have a long way to go.”

Before the six-month season formally began June 1, commercial, federal and academic forecasters called for it to be above average. The seasonal average is for 11 storms with winds of at least 39 mph, the threshold for being named and designated a tropical storm.

Season Forecasts

The National Climate Prediction Center called for 14 to 20 storms this year in its revised forecast issued in August. Colorado State University in Fort Collins last month maintained its pre-season forecast for 18 storms.

Since Aug. 21, hurricanes Danielle and Earl, as well as tropical storms Fiona, Gaston, Hermine and Igor, have formed. Danielle and Earl both became major hurricanes.

A patch of showers and thunderstorms near the Caribbean’s Windward Islands has a 40 percent chance of strengthening into a depression or tropical storm over the next two days.

In addition, a strong tropical wave is about move off Africa into the Atlantic, Feltgen said.

“We have only had a 36-hour period without a tropical system over the past couple of weeks,” Bastardi said.

The hurricane center’s five-day track has Igor moving west across the Atlantic and then making slight northward turn. Bastardi said he isn’t sure if the storm will curve to the north and out to sea or if it will threaten the U.S. East Coast. He predicts the threat to the U.S. will increase through October.

The next storms will be named Julia and Karl.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net.

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