Tropical Storm Rene has moved well west of the Cabo Verde Islands, forecast to move into the Central Atlantic Ocean this weekend.
This is the eighteenth tropical cyclone of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season and it the earliest 17th named storm in Atlantic history. The previous record was Rita on September 18th, 2005. Rene is forecast to also become a hurricane later this week, as it moves out to sea.
This tropical cyclone is not forecast to directly impact Trinidad, Tobago or the Lesser Antilles.
At 5:00 PM AST, the center of Tropical Storm Rene was located near latitude 18.0 North, longitude 32.7 West. Rene is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph (20 km/h), and a motion toward the west-northwest is expected for the next couple of days, followed by a turn to the northwest.
Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Rene is expected to be near hurricane strength by Friday night. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1003 millibars.
Watches & Warnings
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
Hazards Affecting Land
There are no hazards affecting coastlines at this time.
This system is of no direct threat to the Windward Islands, including Trinidad and Tobago.
Tropical Storm Rene Forecast Discussion
Although the cloud pattern of Rene has changed little in overall organization since earlier today, there are some indications that the easterly shear over the storm has diminished somewhat. Cirrus cloud motions show that upper-level outflow is slightly more evident over the eastern portion of the circulation, but it remains limited over that region. The current intensity estimate remains 35 kt in agreement with a Dvorak estimate from TAFB. Vertical shear is predicted to be modest over Rene during the next couple of days, and this should allow for some strengthening. The official intensity forecast is similar to the model consensus and continues to show the system becoming a hurricane, albeit briefly. After day 3, the western portion of a large upper-level trough over the eastern Atlantic is likely to impart increased shear, which should lead to weakening.
Conventional satellite and microwave fixes show a continued west-northwestward motion at about 285/11 kt. Rene is currently located on the southwest side of a mid-level ridge over the eastern Atlantic. A weakness in the ridge in the vicinity of 40W-45W longitude should induce a turn toward the northwest and north-northwest in 3-5 days. By the end of the forecast period, Rene’s forward progress begins to be blocked by building mid-level heights to its north and northwest, which should cause the cyclone’s forward motion to slow down significantly. The official track forecast has been adjusted farther to the left of the previous one, to be closer to the latest model consensus.
Forecast Discussion by Forecaster Pasch from the NHC.