Gordon, our first major hurricane of the season, continues to churn in the Central Atlantic with 100 kt (110 mph) winds. It is starting to feel the effects of southwesterly shear, as can be seen in the infrared satellite image (Figure 1). This should start a general weakening trend with Gordon. Once again, this storm poses no threat to land, although will eventually enter major shipping lanes as an intense extratropical cyclone, which could impede commerce.
Helene appears headed for the same fate. Helene has appeared to get better organized this evening in her infrared satellite presentation (Figure 2), but still is being affected by the dry air in the surrounding environment, leading to no change in the initial intensity. While still having a very elongated circulation with barely tropical storm force winds (Figure 3), Helene should become a hurricane within the next 3 days or so as it encounters low shear and warm sea surface temperatures (Figure 4). However, it will be following essentially the same track as Gordon and move harmlessly into the Central Atlantic, only causing trouble for a passing ship or two (Figure 5). The next chance for a storm to form isn't for another 4 days after another vigorous wave moves off the African coast. Stay tuned to the StormTrack for more.