The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season has accelerated.
After a slow start, Hurricane Fiona has strengthened after a Category 4 storm turning off electrical grids in Puerto Rico earlier this week. Meteorologists are also monitoring Tropical Storm Gaston and three other areas of low air pressure that could develop into cyclones in the coming days.
All five of these areas of meteorological interest are visible in a single image taken Thursday (Sept. 22) by the GOES 16 meteorological satellite from its vantage point 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earth.
Related: 10 Devastating Signs Of Climate Change Satellites Can See From Space
Hurricane Fiona, the first major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic season, formed west of Barbados and Martinique in mid-September and quickly absorbed energy as it moved westward over the warm Caribbean waters. Fiona reached hurricane status on Sunday (September 19) as it ravaged Puerto Rico. It then continued to gain strength as it moved over the Dominican Republic, discharging torrential rains and unleashing powerful winds.
A nighttime image shared on Twitter (opens in new tab) taken by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Thursday, and taken earlier that day by the NOAA 20 satellite, Puerto Rico was still largely in darkness three days after Fiona’s passage, suggesting the extent of damage to the power grid.Read:Strong nighttime earthquake jolts sleeping Mexicans, at least one death reported
Fiona reached the intensity of a Category 4 hurricane on Thursday (September 22) with sustained winds of 215 km/h and maximum gusts of 259 km/h according to Accuweather. The storm is currently moving north toward Bermuda and is expected to sail past the islands later Thursday evening or early Friday morning.
Fiona will then continue her journey north at a safe distance from the US east coast, but will make landfall in eastern Canada this weekend as a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 100 mph (157 kph) and maximum gusts. of 121 mph (195 kph).
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season got off to an unusually slow start. For the first time in 25 years, no tropical storms formed over the ocean’s waters for the entire month of August. However, activity picked up again in early September. In addition to Fiona, Tropical Storm Gaston is currently driving waves in the northern parts of the central Atlantic. The storm poses no threat to populated areas in the foreseeable future.Read:Putin to declare annexation of Ukraine regions within days, U.K. says
On the other hand, an area of low air pressure just north of the coast of Venezuela has a 70% chance of developing into a cyclone in the next 48 hours, NOAA (opens in new tab). This cloud system is moving west/northwest toward the central Caribbean and possibly the Gulf of Mexico. Meteorologists are also monitoring two other weaker areas of low air pressure: one off the western coast of central Africa and another in the central tropical Atlantic.Read:At least 13 killed, many wounded in school shooting in Izhevsk, Russia