First Hurricane Danielle, then tropical storm Earl. Next, Fiona?

Tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic typically reaches its peak in this August-to-October period. Hurricane Danielle is now a Category 4 storm, and tropical storm Earl is building. A third storm system appears to be taking shape.

Weather Underground/AP
This NOAA satellite image taken Friday shows Hurricane Danielle, sitting approximately 480 miles southeast of Bermuda. This system has strengthened into a category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds up to 135 mph and will continue tracking northward at 12 mph. Behind this system in the Tropical Atlantic, Tropical Storm Earl sits about 1,300 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands.

During the past six days, the tropical Atlantic has seen the formation of hurricane Danielle and tropical storm Earl. Now, the National Hurricane Center in Miami is monitoring a new system of tropical thunderstorms off the African coast as well.

The system stands a 70 percent chance of becoming tropical storm Fiona within the next two days.

Welcome to the August-to-October period (now a third of the way through), when tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic reaches its peak. Given the forecast tracks of Danielle and Earl, this may not be the best time to attempt a trans-Atlantic crossing in a row boat.

As of 4 a.m. Friday morning Eastern Daylight Time, Danielle was upgraded to a Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 135 miles an hour.

It's the first major hurricane of the season, but its current projected path swings it east of Bermuda and up into the middle of the North Atlantic, where colder water will sap its strength.

Earl could become a bit more troublesome.

Currently packing maximum sustained winds of about 45 m.p.h., the storm is expected to reach hurricane strength by Sunday morning. Its current track and the associated uncertainties in the track forecast suggest that it could threaten the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico Monday and Tuesday as it heads to the northwest.

Forecasters anticipate that, by Wednesday, Earl will become the season's second major hurricane – storms with maximum sustained winds of more that 110 m.p.h.

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