Nigel Strengthens to a Hurricane

Former Tropical Storm Nigel strengthened to a hurricane over the Central Atlantic Ocean on Monday. At 5:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Nigel was located at latitude 26.5°N and longitude 50.7°W which put it about 935 miles (1510 km) east-southeast of Bermuda. Nigel was moving toward the northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (150 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 984 mb.

The circulation around Hurricane Nigel exhibited more organization on Monday morning. The inner end of a rainband wrapped around the center of Nigel’s circulation. A broken ring of thunderstorms surrounded the center of circulation and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of Hurricane Nigel. Storms near the center generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the hurricane. Winds to hurricane force extended out 25 miles (40 km) from the center of Nigel’s circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 160 miles (260 km) from the center.

Hurricane Nigel will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 36 hours. Nigel will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 29°C. It will move under the axis of an upper level ridge over the Central Atlantic Ocean. The upper level winds are weak near the axis of the upper level ridge and there will be little vertical wind shear. Hurricane Nigel will intensify during the next 36 hours. Nigel could intensify rapidly at times. Nigel could strengthen to a major hurricane on Tuesday.

Hurricane Nigel will move around the southwestern part of a high pressure system over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The high pressure system will steer Nigel toward the northwest during the next 36 hours. On its anticipated track, Hurricane Nigel will remain over the Central Atlantic Ocean during the early part of this week.