Update 11 p.m.: Gert’s maximum sustained winds have reached 75 mph, making the storm a hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 11 p.m., Gert is centered about 445 miles west of Bermuda and is moving north at about 8 mph. Forecasters don’t expect any impacts to the U.S. mainland, though parts of the Atlantic coast could experience high waves, dangerous surf and rip currents.
Forecasters now expect the storm to reach winds of 105 mph sometime Wednesday night as it tracks northeast between the U.S. mainland and Bermuda before it begins to become extratropical and merges with a larger extratropical cyclone.
Update 5 p.m.: Tropical Storm Gert strengthened to 70 mph winds today and is expected to become a hurricane tonight.
The system, which is no threat to the U.S., is about 455 miles west-southwest of Bermuda.
It would be the second hurricane of the 2017 season following last week’s Franklin.
National Hurricane Center forecasters expect Gert to reach 90-mph over the next two days as it turns north-northeastward and begins to accelerate.
Dangerous surf and rip currents are possible along the Atlantic coast from Gert.
There are no advisories currently for South Florida about deteriorating beach conditions.
Previous story: Tropical Storm Gert is chugging through the Atlantic toward a sweet spot of low wind shear that should allow it to become a hurricane within the next two days.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Gert to become a weak Category 1 storm mid-week with 75 mph winds.
Gert will steer clear of land, including the U.S. coast, but there still could be heavy waves and rip current risks along the east coast.
Gert would be the second hurricane of the 2017 season following last week’s Franklin, which hit mainland Mexico as a Category 1 storm.
Brewing in the main development region is a tropical wave the hurricane center is giving a 60 percent chance of development over five days.
The large area of disturbed weather southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands is moving toward a more conducive environment for development.
If it becomes a tropical cyclone, it would be named Harvey. Currently, the disturbance is Invest 91L.
This is the time of year when tropical waves roll off the African coast like cartwheels, spinning up storms over the warming waters of the Atlantic.
The peak of the hurricane season is early September, but the sharpest increase in storms is between Aug. 20 and Sept. 11.
About 95 percent of all Atlantic basin major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher occur after Aug. 1.