The National Hurricane Center (NHC) declared Humberto a hurricane at 5 a.m. on Wednesday – meaning the storm, the first hurricane of the season, missed the title of being the tardiest such storm by a mere three hours.
At the time of the announcement, Humberto was located 310 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands and was producing winds of approximately 75 miles per hour, making it a Category 1 storm.
But Humberto is unlikely to make it to land: The storm is expected to strengthen Wednesday before weakening on Thursday, according to an NHC report.
The Category 1 designation indicates four-to-five-foot water surges, but any damage from such storms is usually minimal.
Since 1967, when meteorologists began using satellites to track storms, the first hurricane of the season that formed the latest materialized at 8 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2002, Dennis Feltgen, an NHC spokesman, told Bloomberg. The earliest hurricane on record was named April 20, 2003, according to Weather.com. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
This hurricane season has been one of the calmest on record. There have been eight named storms thus far, but none gathered enough intensity to be rated as hurricanes until Humberto. A storm is given a name if it becomes a tropical storm, meaning that the storm's winds have reached 63 miles per hour. A tropical storm is then declared a hurricane only if winds reach 74 miles an hour.
“A slow northwestward motion is expected to resume later today and continue through the night,” Michael Brennan, a senior hurricane specialist at the NHC in Miami, said in an advisory, as reported by Bloomberg. “A gradual turn toward the north is expected Thursday and Thursday night.”