Tropical Storm Claudette Forms Southeast of New England

An area of low pressure off the East Coast of the U.S. rapidly acquired tropical characteristics on Monday and it was classified as Tropical Storm Claudette by the National Hurricane Center.  At 1:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Claudette was located at latitude 37.4°N and longitude 68.1°W which put it about 290 miles (465 km) south-southeast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts and about 550 miles (885 km) south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Claudette was moving toward the northeast at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed as 50 m.p.h. (85 km/h) and there were gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1004 mb.

Claudette began as a small low pressure system along a nearly stationary frontal boundary off the East Coast of the U.S.  Moderate wind shear kept the system looking non-tropical for much of the weekend.  The wind shear decreased on Monday morning and as the low moved over the warmer water of the Gulf Stream, thunderstorms developed near the center of circulation.  The stationary frontal boundary dissipated and the system took on a more tropical appearance.  Latent energy released in thunderstorms near the center produced the development of a warm core and some banding developed in the eastern portion of the circulation.  As a result of those changes, the system was classified as Tropical Storm Claudette.

Claudette could strengthen in the short term.  It is still over the Gulf Stream and the upper level winds are not too strong.  However, once the tropical storm moves north of latitude 40°N, it will move over cooler Sea Surface Temperatures.  In addition, stronger upper level winds will increase the vertical wind shear in a day or two.  Claudette could make a transition to an extratropical cyclone within 48 hours.

A combination of a trough approaching the eastern U.S, and a ridge over the Atlantic are expected to steer Claudette toward the northeast.  On its anticipated track, Claudette could approach eastern Nova Scotia in about 24 hours and Labrador in 30 hours.