Tropical Storm Odette forms as hurricane season remains busy with 2 other systems in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Odette formed off the mid-Atlantic coast Friday a few hundred miles southeast of New Jersey, making it the 15th named storm of the season.

Meanwhile, a disturbance in the eastern Atlantic could develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm over the weekend or early next week, forecasters said.

Also, a third disturbance that recently rolled off Africa’s coast is being watched for future development.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, Odette was 225 miles southeast of Cape May, N.J., and 325 miles south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts, the National Hurricane Center said. Odette had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was moving northeast at 15 mph. Its tropical-storm-force winds extended up to 115 miles out to the north of the storm’s center.

The center of Odette is expected to move away from the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast and move south of Canada throughout the weekend. Odette is not forecast to reach hurricane strength, the center said.

By Saturday night, Odette is forecast to reach 50 mph winds and 65 mph by Sunday. Parts of Newfoundland, Canada, are expected to see strong winds and heavy rain on Sunday and Sunday night, the center said.

Heavy rain and high surf are forecast for the mid-Atlantic and northeast U.S. coasts this weekend in addition to parts of Canada as Odette churns it way through the ocean.

Invest 95L, located in the eastern Atlantic, also has become better organized, according to forecasters, and it could form into Tropical Storm Peter as it treks west-northwest in the general direction of the far eastern Caribbean.

But it’s too early to know where it may ultimately end up. As of 2 p.m. Friday, it was more than 1,100 miles west-southwest of the coast of Africa and moving west-northwest at 15 miles per hour. It could reach the far eastern Caribbean by early next week.

“There is a high chance this system will become a tropical depression, then [a] tropical storm within the next couple of days,” according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.

An absence of significant storm-shredding wind shear and a lack of dry air are creating favorable conditions for storm development. Warm water temperatures, at 80 degrees or above, are also conducive at this time, experts said.

Meanwhile, another tropical wave has emerged from Africa’s coast and is moving west-northwest at 5 to 10 mph. Its odds of developing are currently low and its expected to move into cooler water over the weekend.

Just past the halfway point of the hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, there have been 15 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. A 14th named storm in the Atlantic, on average, doesn’t usually form until mid-November, according to experts.

With the formation of Tropical Storm Nicholas as a short-lived hurricane this week, 2021 became only the 10th year since 1966 to have had six or more Atlantic hurricanes by Sept. 13, according to Colorado State University expert Phil Klotzbach.

On Friday, Post-tropical cyclone Nicholas drifted northwest into western Louisiana as flash flooding remains possible across parts of the central Gulf Coast into Saturday, according to forecasters.

On Friday morning, Nicholas was about 50 miles northwest of Alexandria, La., with maximum sustained winds of 15 mph and moving north at 7 mph. Flash flood watches are in effect from southeast Louisiana, across southern Mississippi and southern Alabama, and into the Florida Panhandle.

The National Weather Service said heavy rains were likely to last until Nicholas dissipates over Louisiana. In Louisiana, the rainfall complicated an already difficult recovery at homes ripped open by Ida on Aug. 29. Thousands remain without power in Texas and Louisiana.

In Louisiana, the rain is forecast to linger for days.