The remnants of Tropical Storm Mindy were expected to bring heavy rain across parts of the Southeast on Thursday, less than a day after the storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall along the Florida Panhandle.
Mindy was downgraded early Thursday to a tropical depression but was forecast to produce up to four inches of rain across southern Georgia and coastal South Carolina as it moved toward the Atlantic Ocean, the National Hurricane Center said. Tornadoes were also possible in northern Florida and southern Georgia.
As of Thursday morning, about 6,000 customers in the Florida Panhandle were without power.
“While we are not expecting widespread, significant damage, there is still a chance for flash flooding, strong winds, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms,” Mayor Lenny Curry of Jacksonville, Fla., said in a statement. “While we are no stranger to these conditions, it’s important that our citizens stay alert.”
Farther out in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Larry continued its advance toward Bermuda and threatened to bring dangerous swells to the East Coast of the United States. Canada has issued hurricane and tropical storm watches for parts of Newfoundland.
It has been a dizzying few weeks for meteorologists who have monitored several named storms that formed in quick succession, bringing stormy weather, flooding and damaging winds to parts of the United States and the Caribbean.
In addition to Ida, which battered Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 29 before its remnants brought deadly flooding to the New York area, there were also Julian and Kate, both of which quickly fizzled out within a day.
What is “landfall”? And what are you truly facing when you’re in the eye of the storm?
During hurricane season, news coverage and forecasts can include a host of confusing terms. Let’s take a look at what they mean →
Not long before them, in mid-August, Tropical Storm Fred made landfall in the Florida Panhandle and Hurricane Grace hit Haiti and Mexico. Tropical Storm Henri knocked out power and brought record rainfall to the Northeastern United States on Aug. 22.
The quick succession of named storms might make it seem as if the Atlantic is spinning them up like a fast-paced conveyor belt, but their formation coincides with the peak of hurricane season.
The links between hurricanes and climate change are becoming more apparent. A warming planet can expect to see stronger hurricanes over time, and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — though the overall number of storms could drop, because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.
Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because of more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere; scientists have suggested storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced far more rain than they would have without the human effects on climate. Also, rising sea levels are contributing to higher storm surge — the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.
A major United Nations climate report released in August warned that nations have delayed curbing their fossil-fuel emissions for so long that they can no longer stop global warming from intensifying over the next 30 years, leading to more frequent life-threatening heat waves and severe droughts. Tropical cyclones have likely become more intense over the past 40 years, the report said, a shift that cannot be explained by natural variability alone.
Ana became the first named storm of the season on May 23, making this the seventh year in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season on June 1.
In May, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast that there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year, six to 10 of which would be hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher in the Atlantic. In early August, in a midseason update to the forecast, they continued to warn that this year’s hurricane season will be an above average one, suggesting a busy end to the season.
NOAA updated its forecast in early August, predicting 15 to 21 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes, by the end of the season on Nov. 30. Mindy is the 13th named storm of 2021.
Last year, there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, forcing meteorologists to exhaust the alphabet for the second time and move to using Greek letters.
It was the highest number of storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and included the second-highest number of hurricanes on record.
Michael Levenson and Azi Paybarah contributed reporting.